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SIAM is 


<By W. A. R. WOOD, cut. 













THIS book is the first attempt which has ever been made 
to compile, in a European language, a history of Siam, 
from the earliest times down to a comparatively modern 
period. My intention in writing it was to provide a 
handy book of reference for Europeans who are unac- 
quainted with the main facts of Siamese history, and 
have no time or desire to delve them out for themselves 
from among a mass of contradictory documents. 

I have tried to relate rather than to dilate, and have 
not, I hope, obtruded my own opinions to an unreason- 
able extent. I am aware that I shall be accused of 
showing a pro-Siamese bias in many parts of this book. 
I may as well, therefore, at once plead guilty to this 
charge. I have written as a friend of Siam and the 
Siamese, among whom I have spent the best years of 
my life. 

It will, I think, be frankly admitted that the Siamese 
have some right to feel a pride in the history of their 
country. It is the story of a collection of more or less 
uncultivated immigrants from Southern China, who 
settled in the country now known as Siam, overcoming 
a mighty Empire, and establishing a number of free 
States, which became finally fused into the Siam of 
to-day. We see them humbled to the dust again and 
again by a more powerful neighbour, yet always rising 
up and regaining their freedom. A hundred years ago 


there were dozens of independent States in South- 
Eastern Asia. To-day there remains but one Siam. 
Those who believe in the survival of the fittest will 
admit that the Siamese, whatever their faults, must 
possess some special qualities which have marked them 
out to maintain this unique position. 

People who are interested in fairies, goblins, giants, 
magic talismans, and the like will apt find much to 
please them in this book. There are plenty of super- 
natural beings and events to be met with in native 
histories, but I have preferred, even at the sacrifice of 
picturesqueness, to stick to prosaic facts. 

My original intention was to bring my work to an 
end with the accession of the first king of the dynasty 
now reigning. For the sake of convenience I have, 
however, added a brief Supplement, giving the main 
events of the history of the kingdom down to the present 
time. I do not consider myself well qualified to write 
a detailed history of modern Siam ; if, however, nobody 
else undertakes the task, I may perhaps attempt it at 
a later date. 

I have received a very great amount of kind assistance, 
notably from Professor G. Coedes and from Mr. G. E. 
Harvey, I.C.S. My deepest gratitude is, however, due 
to His Royal Highness Prince Damrong Rajanubhab, 
whose researches alone have made it possible for me to 
undertake this work, and whose help and advice have 
been of incalculable value. 

June 30^, 1924. 



Various versions of Siamese History (P'ongswadan) 
Carved inscriptions Old European authorities Modern 
works consulted Transliteration of Siamese names . 23 


Early Tai tribes in Southern China Affinity between Tai 
and Chinese languages Ancient references to Tai in 
Chinese history State of Nanchao Records of Tai 
rulers of Nanchao from A.D. 650 to 884 Kublai Khan 
conquers Nanchao Migrations of the Tai Habits and 
customs of the Tai of Nanchao 31 


Prehistoric inhabitants of Siam The Sakai The Was or 
Lawas TheKhmers Indian civilisation in Cambodia 
Missionaries of King Asoka Suvarnabhumi Mis- 
sionaries of King Kanishka Nak'on Prat'om Mission- 
aries of King Ciladitya Ancient Kings of Cambodia 
Famous Cambodian temples Ambassador sent by Kublai 

Khan to Cambodia 40 




Early Tai settlers in Siam Conquests of Prince P'rohr 
First Tai city founded at Miiang Fang Luang P'rabang 
Conquests of King Anurutha of Burma Pslyao 
founded Suk'ot'ai captured by Tai from Cambodians 
King Sri Int'arat'itya King Ramk'amheng the Great 
His kingdom Submission of Pegu King Ramk'amheng 
visits China King Mengrai founds Chiengmai King 
Ramk'amheng's character His administration of j ustice 
Inventor of Siamese alphabet King Loet'ai Disintegra- 
tion of kingdom of Suk'ot'ai King T'ammaraja Liit'ai 
His noble character Suk'ot'ai submits to Ayut'ia 
Later Kings of Suk'ot'ai 49 


King Rama T'ibodi I founds Ayut'ia His supposed 
origin Extent of his dominions War with Cambodia 
War with Suk'ot'ai Law of Evidence Law on Offences 
against the Government Law on Receiving Plaints 
Law on Abduction Law on Offences Against the 
People Law Concerning Robbers Law on Miscel- 
laneous Matters Law of Husband and Wife Death of 
King Rama T'ibodi I 62 


King Ramesuen His abdication, and accession of King 
Boromoraja I Relations with China Wars with 
Suk'ot'ai War with Chiengmai Death of King 
Boromoraja I King T'ong Lan killed by ex-King 



Ramesuen, who resumes power War with Chiengmai 
Conquest of Cambodia Death of King Ramesuen and 
accession of King Ram Raja King Ram Raja deposed 
King Jnt'araja I War with Chiengmai Relations with 
China Death of King Int'araja Fight for the throne, 
and accession of late King's youngest son ... 70 


King Boromoraja II War with Cambodia War with 
Maharaja Tilok of Chiengmai King Boromoraja II 
dies, and is succeeded by King Trailokanat Reforms in 
administration Sakdi Na Law Palace Law War with 
Chiengmai Expedition to Malacca Capital moved to 
P'itsanulok War continued against Chiengmai Battle 
of Doi Ba King Trailokanat becomes a priest Siamese 
Ambassadors to Chiengmai massacred Maha Uparat 
appointed End of War with Chiengmai Death of 
Maharaja Tilok Emerald Buddha Capture of Tavoy 
Death of King Trailokanat His character . .81 


King Boromoraja III King Rama T'ibodi II Trouble 
with Chiengmai Gigantic image of Buddha cast War 
with Chiengmai Relations with Portuguese Successes 
against Chiengmai Reorganisation of system of military 
service King Boromoraja IV Boy King Ratsada 
King P'rajai Canals dug Law for Trial by Ordeal 
War with Burma First invasion of Chiengmai by King 
P'rajai Fire at Ayut'ia Second invasion of Chiengmai 



Severe defeat Death of King P'rajai His character 

Note on Pinto's Peregrinations .... 95 


Young King Keo Fa His mother becomes Regent Her 
intrigue with K'un Jinarat Murder of King Keo Fa 
K'un Jinarat usurps throne with title of K'un Worawongsa 
Conspiracy against him K'un Worawongsa and 
Princess Regent killed, and Prince T'ien proclaimed King, 
with title of King Chakrap'at First Burmese invasion 
Death of Queen Suriyot'ai Burmese retire King 
Chakrap'at's preparations for further invasion Unsuc- 
cessful invasion of Cambodia Rebellion of Prince Sri Sin 
King Bhureng Noung of Burma conquers Chiengmai 
Second Burmese invasion Arduous terms imposed by 
Burmese Rebellion of Rajah of Patani Siamese 
Princess, sent to Luang P'rabang, is captured by Burmese 
Prince Mahin becomes Regent Trouble with Maha 
T'ammaraja, Governor of P'itsanulok King Chakrap'at 
resumes power Third Burmese invasion Death of King 
Chakrap'at His character King Mahin's mismanage- 
ment Ayut'ia falls through treachery Death of King 
Mahin Maha T'ammaraja set up by Burmese as vassal 
KingofSiam 108 


Siam under Burmese rule Cambodian invasion Prince 
Naresuen Burmese invade Wiengchan Tharawadi 
Min becomes Prince of Chiengmai Rebellion of Yan 



Prajien Death of Bhureng Noung of Burma Prince 
Naresuen in Burma Plot to murder Prince Naresuen 
He declares Siam independent Burmese defeats 
Alliance with Cambodia Burmese invasion fails 
Prince of Chiengmai defeated Quarrel with Prince of 
Cambodia Burmese again invade Siam and besiege 
Ayut'ia They fail and retire Prince Naresuen invades 
Cambodia Death of King Maha T'ammaraja His 
character 126 


King Naresuen His brother made Maha Uparat Burmese 
invasion repulsed Further Burmese invasion King 
Naresuen slays Crown Prince of Burma in single combat 
Siamese take Tenasserim and Tavoy Naval battle 
Depopulation of Siam King Naresuen offers to assist 
China against Japan Cambodia invaded and subdued 
King Naresuen invades Burma and conquers part of Pegu 
Treaty with Spain Chiengmai under Siamese 
suzerainty King Naresuen again invades Burma King 
of Burma taken to Taungu Hanthawadi sacked by 
Arakanese King Naresuen invades Taungu He fails, 
and returns to Siam Affairs at Chiengmai Prince 
Srisup'anma made King of Cambodia King Naresuen in- 
vades Shan States His death at Miiang Hang His 
character 139 


King Ekat'otsarot His taxes Dutch, Portuguese, and 
Japanese in Siam Execution of Prince Sut'at Death 



of King Ekat'otsarot His character King Songt'am 
Japanese attack Palace and force concessions from King 
Luang P'rabang invasion Japanese subdued and Luang 
P'rabang army defeated First English merchants and 
ships in Siam System of trading Trouble with Burma 
Tavoy captured by Burmese, but retaken Burmese 
invade Chiengmai territory and take Lampang Treaty 
between Siam and Burma Naval battle between English 
and Dutch at Patani Disastrous invasion of Cambodia 
Relations with Japan Discovery of P'rabat or footprint 
of Buddha King Songt'am's illness ; intrigues as to 
succession Death of King Songt'am His character . 158 


King Jett'a P'ya Kalahom's origin and history Prince Sri 
Sin's rebellion and execution P'ya Kalahom dethrones 
and executes King Jett'a Yamada and P'ya Kalahom 
King At'ityawong Yamada at Nak'on Srit'ammarat 
King At'ityawong executed P'ya Kalahom usurps throne 
as King Prasat T'ong Expulsion of Japanese Trouble 
with Patani Affairs at Chiengmai Relations with the 
Dutch Expedition to Nak'on Srit'ammarat Barbarities 
of King Prasat T'ong Unsuccessful attacks on Patani 
Patani submits Dutch maltreated King Prasat T'ong 
tries to alter calendar Quarrel with the Dutch Letter 
from Prince of Orange Expeditions to Singora Law of 
Appeal Law on Debt Slavery Law of Inheritance 
Law of Debt Anti-foreign legislation King Prasat 



T'ong and Cambodia Death of King Prasat T'ong 
His character 172 


King Jai His deposition and execution King Sri 
Sut'ammaraja Attack on the Palace The King deposed 
and executed King Narai Trouble in Cambodia 
English merchants flee from Cambodia to Siam English 
factory reopened at Ayut'ia Events in Burma King 
Narai invades Chiengmai territory P'ya Kosa T'ibodi 
reforms Siamese Army Second invasion of Chiengmai, 
and capture of city War with Burma King Narai 
invades Pegu Dutch blockade of Menam River Treaty 
with Dutch French missionaries arrive in Siam Favour 
shown to them Progress of French Mission, and relations 
with France Constantine Phaulkon His rise to 
power His policy displeases East India Company More 
French missionaries French company opens factory at 
Ayut'ia First Siamese Embassy to Europe Ship bearing 
Embassy lost King Narai and the English Patani and 
Singora Potts, the East India Company's Agent, 
quarrels with Phaulkon Company's factory burnt 
Strangh and Yale visit Siam They quarrel with Phaulkon 
Second Siamese Embassy visits France and England 
English commercial mission to Ayut'ia First French 
Embassy to Siam Treaty between France and Siam 
Attempts to convert King Narai to Christianity His 
reply Disputes between Siam and the East India Com- 
pany Third Siamese Embassy to France Rebellion of 



the Macassars and death of Captain Udall War between 
Siam and the East India Company Trouble at Mergui 
Massacre of Europeans at Mergui King Narai's declar- 
ation of war Second French Embassy French troops in 
Siam New Treaty with France Anti-foreign Party 
P'ra P'etraja King Narai falls ill Difficulty about 
succession Arrest and execution of Phaulkon His 
character Execution of Princes Death of King Narai 
His character His legislation 189 


King P'etraja Persecution of Christians French leave 
Siam Trouble about hostages Second persecution 
Treaty with Dutch Negotiations with English 
Settlement with French Rebellion of T'am T'ien 
Claim of East India Company End of war between 
Siam and East India Company Rebellions Siege of 
Nak'on Srit'ammarat Cambodia Further negoti- 
ations with French Rebellion of Bun K'wang 
Trouble in Luang P'rabang Illness of King P'etraja 
Murder of Prince Chao K'wan P'ra P'ijai declared heir 
Death of King P'etraja His character P'ra P'ijai 
resigns crown King P'rachao Siia His occupations 
The King and the steersman The King's low tastes and 
brutality Famine Death of King P'rachao Siia King 
T'ai Sra Invasion of Cambodia Defeat of southern 
army Successes of northern army Cambodia submits 
Disputes about succession Death of King T'ai Sra His 
character Events in Chiengmai . . . .216 




Civil war King Boromokot Late King's sons executed 
Numerous executions Chinese rebellion Family 
troubles Princes flogged to death Happy condition of 
Siam under King Boromokot Events in Burma 
Burmese Embassy King Boromokot's pro-Burmese 
policy Saming T'oh Siamese troops sent to Cambodia 
Alaungpaya, King of Burma Embassy from Ceylon 
Religious Commission sent to Ceylon Misconduct and 
execution of Maha Uparat The succession Death of 
King Boromokot His character King Ut'ump'on 
Execution of Princes King Ut'ump'on abdicates in 
favour of his brother King Ekat'at His character 
Plot to reinstate ex-King War with Burma Burmese 
invade Peninsula and advance to A^ut'ia Siege of 
Ayut'ia Death of Alaungpaya and abandonment of 
siege Burmese take Chiengmai and Luang P'rabang 
Trouble at Tavoy and Tenasserim Burmese again invade 
Siam English Captain Pauni resists Burmese Second 
siege of Ayut'ia Inefficiency and mismanagement 
People's army at Bangrachan Defeat of Prince T'ep 
P'ip'it Progress of siege of Ayut'ia P'ya Taksin flees 
from Ayut'ia Burmese capture Ayut'ia Death of 
King, and capture of ex-King Vandalism of Burmese 
Loss of Records of Kingdom 231 

P'ya Taksin at Rayong He captures Chantabun He 

recaptures Ayut'ia from the Burmese His respect for 



late Royal Family He becomes King Siam divided 
into five separate States Further Burmese' defeats 
Events at P'itsanulok Priest-King of Fang captures 
P'itsanulok Capture of K'orat and P'imai Execution 
of Prince T'ep P'ip'it Plague of rats Restoration of 
order and prosperity Invasion of Cambodia Capture of 
Nak'on Srit'ammarat Priest-King of Fang subdued 
Priesthood reformed Unsuccessful attempt to take 
Chiengmai Conquest of Cambodia Burmese attack on 
P'ijai Events in the north Capture of Chiengmai 
Burmese again invade Siam, but are driven out Burmese 
again invade the north Fall of P'itsanulok Chao P'ya 
Chakri and the Burmese General Burmese again 
defeated Burmese attack Chiengmai Trouble in the 
Eastern Provinces Chao P'ya Chakri given princely rank 
King Taksin shows signs of mental derangement War 
with Wiengchan Invasion of Cambodia King Taksin 
becomes insane His barbarities Rebellion at Ayut'ia 
P'ya Sank'aburi joins rebels King Taksin abdicates 
P'ya Sank'aburi plots to make himself King He fails 
Chao P'ya Chakri returns to Ayut'ia Execution of King 
Taksin and P'ya Sank'aburi Chao P'ya Chakri 
becomes King Character of King Taksin . . .251 


King Rama I Revision of laws Burmese invasion 
Malay States Penang ceded to England by Sultan of 
Kedah Second Burmese invasion Tavoy Burmese 



invade Chiengmai Chiengsen retaken by Siamese 
Death of King Rama I King Rama II Burmese 
invade Peninsula Opium Decree Invasion of 
Cambodia Trengganu Treaty with Portugal Inva- 
sion of Kedah and flight of Sultan to Penang Dr. John 
Crawford visits Bangkok First Anglo-Burmese war 
Death of King Rama II King Rama III Captain 
Henry Burney visits Bangkok and concludes Treaty 
Treaty with United States Second invasion of Kedah 
Death of King Rama III King Rama IV 
His character Second Anglo-Burmese war Siamese 
invasion of Kengtung Sir John Bowring visits Bangkok 
Anglo-Siamese Treaty Treaties with other Powers 
Cambodia becomes French Protectorate Death of King 
Rama IV King Rama V (Chulalongkorn) Reforms 
Trouble with France Abolition of slavery Abolition 
of office of Maha Uparat Death of the King Rama V, 
and accession of King Rama VI Siam and the Great 
War. Death of King Rama VI, and accession of King 

Prajadhipok 274 

List showing Pali forms of names and titles . . .281 


Facing page 












THE principal difficulty which confronts the writer who 
tries to compile a history of Siam is the almost entire 
absence of reliable native chronicles. 

The official records and annals of the Kings of Ayut'ia 
were all destroyed when the Burmese captured that 
city in 1767. During the reigns of King Taksin and 
King P'ra Putt'a Yot Fa Chulalok (Rama I) attempts 
were made to reconstruct the history of Ayut'ia from 
such sources as were then available. The result is the 
P 'ongsawadan, several versions of which are in existence. 
Unfortunately, the compilers of the P'ongsawadan either 
destroyed, or at least did not preserve, the documents 
from which they derived their information. Con- 
sequently, although it is now possible to say that many 
of their statements were erroneous, it is not easy to 
discover how the errors arose, and still less easy to 
correct them. 

The two most widely known versions of the P'ong- 
sawadan are the P'ongsawadan in Two Volumes^ 
published at Bangkok by Dr. Bradley in 1863, and the 
" Royal Autograph Edition/' which was revised by 
King Maha Mongkut (Rama IV) and printed in 1907, 
with notes by Prince Damrong. There have been several 
printed editions of both these versions. 

The principal difference between these two versions 
is that the " Royal Autograph Edition " gives a King, 
Int'araja II, who is said to have reigned from 1449 to 


1473. The name of this King does not appear at all 
in the main text of Bradley's version, though it is given 
in two brief summaries incorporated by Bradley in his 
first volume. In the present book this King's name will 
not be found, as I have followed the version, which 
will be referred to later, known as "Luang Prasoet's 

Both the usual versions of the P* ongsawadan, that is 
to say, Bradley's and the " Royal Autograph," are 
derived from a version drawn up in 1840 by Prince 
Promanujit Jinnorot, under the orders of King P'ra 
Nang Klao (Rama III). Prince Promanujit's work 
was, in its turn, compiled from two manuscript editions 
of the P* ongsawadan, which are preserved in the National 
Library at Bangkok. The first of these was written in 
1783, under King Taksin, and the second in 1795, 
under King P'ra P'utt'a Yot Fa Chulalok (Rama I). 
These two versions, as well as all the printed versions, 
are, practically speaking, one and the same book. 

The chief peculiarity which strikes the student of 
all these versions of the P'ongsawadan is that, starting 
from about the year 1370, almost every date given is 
wrong. This can easily be proved by comparing the 
dates with those given in the annals of neighbouring 
countries, such as Burma, Luang P'rabang, Chiengmai, 
and Cambodia, or those recorded by European authors, 
e.g. Mendez Pinto, P. W. Floris, and J. van Vliet. 
Moreover, the error is not uniform; sometimes the 
dates given are wrong only by one or two years, some- 
tfmes by eighteen or twenty. The only conclusion to 
be drawn is that the compilers of the P'ongsawadan, 
for some reason or other, invented a complete system 
of chronology for themselves, and this does not make 
us too ready to accept without question their authority 


as to facts, especially in cases where their statements 
are contradicted by the histories of neighbouring 
countries or by the evidence of contemporary witnesses. 

In the year 1905 King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) 
instituted a new National Library, under the presidency 
of His Royal Highness the Crown Prince (afterwards 
King Rama VI), and since that time historical research 
has been carried out in a scientific and careful manner, 
and steps have been taken to discover and preserve 
ancient versions of the history of the country. 1 

The book known as the P'ongsawadan of Luang 
Prasoet was discovered and presented to the National 
Library in 1907 by an official named Luang Prasoet. 
It was compiled in 1680, under orders from King Narai. 
It gives briefly the history of the Kings of Ayut'ia from 
1350 to 1605. The earlier part of this book, down to 
about the year 1500, is similar, in the main, to the usual 
versions of the P* ongsawadan, and the compilers of the 
latter probably possessed a copy of Luang Prasoefs 
P'ongsawadan. The dates given in Luang Prasoet's 
book agree, generally speaking, with those given in the 
native histories of Burma and other neighbouring 
countries. 1 

There is further evidence of the correctness of the 
dates given in Luang Prasoet's book. A Pali version of 
Siamese history, 1 incorporated in a religious work called 
Sangitivamsa, composed in 1789 by a Buddhist priest 
named Vimaladharma, gives practically the same series 
of dates, and another Siamese version, written in 1774 
of which only a small fragment has been preserved 

*The present President of the National Library is Prince Damrong 
Rajanubhab, who has held the position since 1913. 

* Luang Prasoet's History has been translated into English by the late Dr. 
Frankfurter, and was published in the Journal of the Siam Society, vol. vii., 
part 3 (Bangkok, 1909). 

1 Translated into 1'rcnch by Professor G. Coedes, and published in the Bulletin 
de I'Ecvlc kranfaisc d' Extreme Orient, vol. xiv., No. 3. 


also supports, 90 far as it goes, Luang Prasoet's 

For these reasons I have, whenever possible, followed 
Luang Prasoet's dates, and have, moreover, accepted 
his statement of facts whenever this does not coincide 
with the account given in later editions of the 
P* ongsawadan. 

As for the Siamese Kingdom of Suk'ot'ai, no written 
history of it, if such ever existed, has been preserved, 
but many facts connected with it can be gleaned from 
the histories of Burma and of Chiengmai, as well as 
from various carved inscriptions which have been 
discovered, notably the celebrated stone of King Ram- 
k'amheng, the earliest known specimen of Tai writing. 
This stone may be seen in the National Library at 
Bangkok, and a translation of it was made by Professor 
Bradley, and published in the Journal of the Siam Society^ 
vol. vi., part i. 

The history of Chiengmai, and of the Lao States 
generally, is given in the P'ongsawadan Tonok, compiled, 
from various documents, by the late P'ya Prajakit, and 
published at Bangkok in 1907. It is a most interesting 
book, and throws a great deal of light upon the history 
of Siam. 

There is also a book called the Jinakalamalini^ written 
in the Pali language at Chiengmai in 1516 by a priest 
named Rat'ana Panyayana. It deals mainly with 
religious subjects, but contains many details about the 
early Kings of Chiengmai. 1 

The above are the principal books of Siamese origin 
on which I have relied in compiling the present volume. 
I have also studied Siamese versions of the histories of 

* A French translation of the Jinakalamahm, by Professor G. Coedes, appeared 
in the Bulletin dc VEcole Franynse d' Extreme Orient, vol. xxv. 1925, No. i. 


Burma, Luang P'rabang, and Cambodia, as well as 
Nai T'ien's excellent English translation of the Burmese 
Chronicle, published in various numbers of the Siam 
Society's Journal. 

To come to European authorities, the earliest is the 
Perigrinations of Fernando Mendez Pinto, The English 
translation, by Cogan, published in London in 1663, 
is rather incorrect, but does not differ, as regards Siam, 
in any essential respect from the original Portuguese 
(Lisbon, 1614). Pinto was a most extraordinary romancer. 
Nevertheless, it is interesting to find a contemporary 
European account of the death of King P'rajai and the 
usurpation of K'un Worawongsa, agreeing, in many 
important particulars, with the version given in the 
Siamese P* ongsawadan. 1 

Jeremias van Vliet is another European writer who 
deals at length with historical events in Siam. I have 
been unable to find a copy of his book in the Flemish 
original, but a French translation was published in 
Paris in 1673, in the same volume as Herbert's Voyage 
to India and Persia. It was written by Van Vliet in 
1647, and is entitled Revolutions arrivees au Royaume 
de Siam. 

Van Vliet's work, even in the very imperfect French 
translation, is most valuable, and enables us to reconstruct 
to a great extent the reigns of King Songt'am and his 
two sons, which are described very incorrectly in the 

Van Vliet also wrote another book, the Description 
of the Kingdom of Siam> an excellent English translation 
of which, by Mr. L. F. van Ravenswaay, was published 
in the Journal of the Siam Society (vol. vii,, part i). 
This book describes Siam in the reign of King Prasat 

1 An abndged version of Pinto's book was published in London in 1891. 


Tong, and contains a good deal of useful historical 

For the reign of King Narai there are a great number 
of European authorities, the best known being La 
Loub&re, Tachard, and the anonymous author of the 
Full and True Relation of the Great and Wonderful 
Revolution that happened in the Kingdom of Siam y 
published first in Paris in 1690, and later translated into 
English and Italian. 

Turpin's History of Siam was published in Paris in 
1771. There is an English translation by B. O. Cart- 
wright (Bangkok, 1909) and an abridged English version 
is to be found in Pinkertorfs Voyages. Turpin derived 
his information from the French missionaries. He does 
not, to quote his own words, " attempt to lift the veil 
which conceals the beginnings of this kingdom," but 
he gives a more or less detailed history of the country 
from 1550 to 1770. He is a most exasperating writer, 
as he cites very few dates, and usually refers to his 
characters in a vague way, giving no names, so that it 
is often difficult to decide whom or what he is writing 
about. Nevertheless, he has preserved many interesting 
facts which cannot be traced elsewhere. 

The above are the principal old authorities whom I 
have consulted, but many facts have been gleaned from 
other sources, notably from various Records of the 
English and Dutch East India Companies. 

Of modern works I must mention two, one English 
and one Siamese, namely Anderson's English Intercourse 
with Siam in the Seventeenth Century (London, 1890) 
and Prince Damrong's History of the Wars between 
Burma and Siam (Bangkok, 1920). The latter book is 
a perfect gold-mine of interesting information. 

With regard to the system of transliterating Siamese 


p 28 


names and titles used in this book, I trust that it will 
not be found entirely unsatisfactory. There are two 
main systems in use in Siam, namely the phonetic, 
which gives the sound of each word as heard or imagined 
by the transliterator, and the scientific, which gives the 
equivalent in Roman characters of the original Pali 
or Sanscrit pronunciation of the word. The former 
system, as a rule, utterly disguises the origin of all 
Pali and Sanscrit words, and the latter completely 
distorts their modern pronunciation. 

As this book will, I hope, be read by many persons 
who know no Siamese, and by more who know no 
Sanscrit or Pali, I have thought it best to follow a 
phonetic system. For the sake of those readers who 
may be interested in tracing the Pali origin of the names 
and titles used, I have, however, with the kind assistance 
of Professor G. Coedfes, added a list, in which the Pali 
forms are set forth. 

There are two main classes of Siamese guttural, 
labial, and dental consonants, namely the unaspirated 
and the aspirated. The latter are often represented by 
adding an " h," e.g. Phya, Thien ; but this misleads 
many people into pronouncing those combinations as 
in English. I have, therefore, indicated the aspirated 
consonants by adding an apostrophe, e.g. P'y a > T'ien. 

There are two Siamese classes of letters which are 
usually transliterated by " ch." One is more or less 
soft, as in " church," the other is hard, rather like the 
" tch " at the end of the word " pitch." To distinguish 
between these two classes of letters I have represented 
the soft sound by "j " and the hard sound by " ch," 
An exception has been made in the names of such well- 
known places as Chiengmai and Chiengsen, and perhaps 
a few more slight inconsistencies may be found. 


In regard to this matter, I crave the indulgence of 
my readers. No two persons can be found to agree as 
to the best method of transliterating Siamese names, 
and no system is entirely satisfactory. All I can hope 
for is to cause as little confusion as possible to readers 
who do not know Siamese or Sanscrit. 




EVERYBODY knows, in a general way, that the Chinese 
claim to possess a national history dating back to the 
earliest ages ; and those who have not studied the history 
of that remarkable people are apt to suppose that the 
dominions ruled over by the earliest Emperors were 
more or less identical in extent with the China of to-day. 
This, however, was not the case. The original limits 
of China were not very extensive. We read in Mr. 
Demetrius Boulger's History of China that in the year 
585 B.C. the Chinese Empire did not extend farther 
south than the great River Yang-tse-kiang. The region 
of the barbarians then included all the Provinces lying 
south of that stream. 

Who were these barbarians ? Doubtless many and 
various tribes were included among them ; but most 
of them were Tai 1 people, the ancestors of the Siamese, 
Laos 1 and Shans of to-day. 

1 The unaspirated form Is used by almost all the members of this 
race. The aspirated form, " T'ai," is only known among the inhabitants of 
Southern Siam. The word is usually taken to mean " free." The attempt to 
fix a meaning into every racial or national name is, however, often useless and 
misleading. It is enough to say that " Tai " is the name of a particular kind 
of man. 

1 Purists will object to the use of this word. It is, in fact, a corruption 
of the word " Lawa." The Laos have thus acquired the name of their aboriginal 
predecessors. Similarly, many a man of pure Saxon or Norman blood is proud 
to be known as a Baton. Another theory is that " Lao " simply means a man. 
The word is used in this sense in certain Tai dialects. Whatever its origin, the 
word " Lao " is a convenient term, in general use to-day to describe the inhabitants 
of Northern Siam. 


Even at the present time the population of Southern 
China shows signs of a strong Tai strain of blood. The 
Yunnanese are more Tai than Chinese, and pure Tai 
communities are to be found within a few hundred 
miles of the city of Canton, speaking a dialect which 
a Bangkok Siamese could understand with but little 

The Tai and Chinese are cognate races. Long before 
the dawn of history they must have had a common 
origin, as is shown by the physical resemblance between 
them, and also by the fact that the Tai and Chinese 
languages are identical in construction, both of them 
presenting certain peculiarities which distinguish them 
from any other languages in the world. 

Chinese annals from the sixth century B.C. onwards 
contain many references to the " barbarians " south 
of the Yang-tse-kiang. 

In A.D. 69 a Tai Prince, named Liu Mao, submitted 
to the Chinese Emperor Mingti of the Han dynasty, 
together with seventy-seven minor Tai chiefs and 
51, 890 families, comprising 553,711 persons. 

In A.D. 78 they rebelled against China, and their 
Prince, Lei Lao, was defeated in the great battle, as 
a result of which many of his people emigrated to the 
region now known as the Northern Shan States. 

In A.D. 225, during the temporary division of China 
into three Empires, the Tai were attacked by the Chinese 
General Kong Beng and forced to submit to the Emperor 
of Szechuan. Up to this period the Tai were known 
to the Chinese by the name of " Ailao." 

By A.D. 650 the Tai were again independent, and had 
formed themselves into a powerful Kingdom, known 
as Nanchao. They were ruled over by a King, named 
Sinulo, who sent an embassy to conclude a treaty of 


friendship with Kaotsong, the third Emperor of the 
Tang dynasty. 

In A.D. 745, during the reign of the Emperor Mingti 
(sixth of the Tang dynasty) the Tai King Pilawko 
entered into a new treaty with China. Later on, King 
Pilawko attacked Tibet, capturing several cities. 

In A.D. 750, Pilawko was succeeded by his son, Kolo- 
feng, who made Talifu his capital. This King paid a 
visit to China, and while there was insulted by the 
Governor of Hunan. He returned home very indignant, 
and at once proceeded to invade China, capturing thirty- 
two towns and villages. The Chinese made several 
attempts to subdue him, but without success. They 
were twice beaten in the field, and on their third attempt 
a pestilence broke out, fear of which caused all the 
Chinese soldiers to run away. 

Fearing that he could not resist the Chinese unaided, 
Kolofeng entered into an alliance with the King of 
Tibet, who conferred upon him the title of " younger 

In A.D. 754 the Chinese again invaded Nanchao, but 
were defeated again and again with great slaughter. 
Numbers of them also fell victims to pestilence. 

In A.D. 770 King Kolofeng died, and was succeeded 
by his grandson Imohsun. He signalised his accession 
by at once invading China, assisted by the Tibetans, 
but was repulsed. This was in the reign of Taitsong, 
the eighth Emperor of theTang dynasty. 

In A.D. 787 Imohsun, acting on the advice of one 
Cheng-hui, a Chinese literate who had formerly been 
his tutor, entered into negotiations with China. He 
wrote to the Emperor Tetsong (ninth of the Tang 
dynasty) saying that his grandfather had been forced 
by ill-treatment to throw in his lot with the Tibetans. 



He was, however, now tired of their arrogance. They 
were taskmasters rather than allies, forced his people 
to fight their wars, and levied taxes in his dominions. 

As a result of this a treaty was concluded between 
China and Nanchao. The Emperor recognised Imohsun 
as King of Nanchao, and conferred upon him a gold 
seal. All the Tibetans in Nanchao were then massacred. 
A Tibetan army, which was sent to avenge the massacre, ' 
was utterly routed. 

A Chinese envoy was then sent to Talifu and received 
with great pomp. Soldiers lined the roads, and the 
horses' harness was ablaze with gold and cowries. 
Imohsun wore a coat of gold mail and tiger-skin, and 
had twelve elephants drawn up in front of him. He 
kotowed to the ground, facing north, and swore everlasting 
fealty to China. 

Imohsun now embarked upon a career of conquest, 
invading the territory of other states and tribes. 

In A.D. 794 he invaded Tibet, capturing sixteen towns, 
and taking immense booty. 

In A.D. 820 one of Imohsun's successors invaded 
China, capturing Sui-chu, Yong-chu, and Kong-chu. 
He was forced to retreat, but took with him many 
captives, among them some skilled artisans, who soon 
placed Nanchao on a par with China in matters of art, 
literature, and weaving. 

In A.D. 858 the Tai of Nanchao invaded Tonkin an4 
brought back a great amount of booty. 

In A.D. 850 one Tsui Lung became King of Nanchao. 
He assumed the title of Emperor. This offended the 
Emperor Suentsong (i6th of the Tang dynasty), who 
retaliated by declining to send an envoy to the funeral 
of the late King of Nanchao. Tsui Lung thereupon 
invaded China and besieged Chengtu. Before he was 


forced to retire " eighty per cent, of the inhabitants of 
certain towns in Szechuan were wearing artificial noses 
and ears made of wood." It is not recorded what the 
noses were made of. 

The war thus started was continued under the Emperor 
Ytsong, who succeeded to the throne of China in A.D. 860. 
The Chinese were consistently unsuccessful, and Nanchao 
became entirely independent. 

In A.D. 863 the Tai conquered Annam, but it was 
retaken three years later by the celebrated Chinese 
General Kaopien. 

In A.D. 870 Tsui Lung again invaded China and 
besieged Chengtu, but was driven back. Another 
invasion in A.D. 875 was equally unsuccessful. 

In A.D. 877 a Tai King, called by the Chinese " Fa " 
(P'ra ?), succeeded to the throne of Nanchao. This 
King made peace with China, and received a Chinese 
envoy at his Court. In A.D. 884 his son married a 
daughter of the Emperor. 

These events, chronicled with some detail by the 
Chinese historians, clearly show us that Nanchao was 
a powerful State, holding its own against the Chinese 
Emperors for many hundreds of years. 

From the time of King Fa onwards, little mention 
is made in Chinese history of Nanchao, which had 
apparently once and for all accepted the position of a 
vassal kingdom, though Chinese control over the country 
was probably of a very shadowy kind. 

In A.D. 1253 Nanchao (or Yunnan) was conquered by 
Kublai Khan, This finally put an end to the Tai 
kingdom, and resulted in a wholesale emigration of the 
inhabitants southwards, with important effects upon 
the history of Siam, as will be seen later. 

As mentioned above, many of the Nanchao Tai had 


emigrated to the region now known as the Northern 
Shan States as far back as the first century of the Christian 
era, and during the succeeding centuries we may assume 
that a steady stream of Tai settlers proceeded to the 
west and south-west. These people were the ancestors 
of the tribes now known as Shans or Tai Yai (great 
Tai). They formed a kingdom, or confederation of 
kingdoms, known in ancient chronicles as the kingdom 
of Pong. 1 Pong is one of the mysteries of history. 
Its position and extent are unknown, and the accounts 
given concerning it are so contradictory and so full of 
fable that the frivolous might say that the kingdom of 
Pong was Mrs. Harris, as Sir George Scott wittily 

It is certain, however, that a strong Shan, or Western 
Tai, kingdom existed from about the sixth century 
onwards, with its capital probably at Miiang Mao, on 
the Shweli River. 

Luckily for the author, it does not fall within the 
scope of a history of Siam to seek to unravel the mysteries 
of the mediaeval Shan Kingdom. The inhabitants of 
Siam are not descended from these Western Tai, but 
from the Eastern Tai, sometimes called the Tai Noi, 
whose early history is fairly well known from Chinese 
sources, as has been seen above. 

The Chinese referred to the Nanchao Tai as bar- 
barians, but we need not attach much meaning to this 
expression. They called all foreigners barbarians down 
to a very recent date, and doubtless the term is not 
even yet obsolete. 

The truth is, as shown by Chinese history, that the 
Tai were no more barbarous than the Chinese themselves, 

1 Kengrung, in the south-west of Yunnan, is referred to as " Pong " in the 
history of Chiengmai (A.D. 1560). 


and, if we possessed histories written by those early 
Tai, we might perhaps find that the Chinese had as much 
to learn from the ancient Tai as their descendants have 
to learn from the Siamese of to-day. 

It is clear from the annals of the Tang dynasty that 
the Tai kingdom of Nanchao was a highly organised 
State. There were Ministers of State, Censors or 
Examiners, Generals, Record Officers, Chamberlains, 
Judges, Treasurers, Ministers of Commerce, etc., the 
native name of each Department being given as 
" Shwang." 1 Minor Officials managed the granaries, 
royal stables, taxes, etc. The military organisation was 
similar to that of modern Siam. It was arranged by 
tens, centurions, chiliarchs, deka-chiliarchs, and so on. 
Military service then, as now, was compulsory for all 
able-bodied men, lots being drawn for each levy. Each 
soldier was supplied with a leather coat and a pair of 
trousers ; they wore helmets and carried shields of 
rhinoceros hide. 

Land was apportioned to each family according to 
rank, a system which survives in Siam to the present 
day, in the nominal sakdi na grade conferred upon 

There were six Metropolitan Departments and six 
Provincial Viceroys in Nanchao. 

The people were acquainted with the art of weaving 
cotton and rearing silkworms. West of Yang-chang 
a mulberry-tree grew, the wood of which was used for 
making bowls ; and gold was found in many parts, both 
in the sands of the rivers and in the mountains. 

When the Tai King appeared in public eight white- 
scalloped standards of greyish purple were carried 

1 Possibly the same as modern Siamese Krasuang, a department. " Kra " 
is a common prefix. 


before him, also two feather fans, a hair plume, an axe, 
and a parasol of kingfisher's feathers. The standards 
of the Queen-mother were scalloped with brown 
instead of white. 

The chief dignitaries wore a tiger skin. 

Each man paid a tax of two measures of rice a year, 
and there was no corvie labour. Some may say that in 
the last respect the ancient Tai set a good example to 
their Siamese descendants. 

Had the Nanchao Tai a written character, or did they 
use Chinese ideographs ? We do not know. In the 
opinion of the author, it is very improbable that any 
system of writing at all resembling those now in use 
(all of which are of Indian origin) was adopted before 
the eleventh century. It is likely that the Nanchao 
Tai used Chinese characters. 

As to the religion of the ancient Tai, we likewise have 
no definite information. We know that Buddhism, the 
religion of almost all the modern Tai, was introduced 
into China, from the south, during the first century of 
the Christian era. It is, therefore, probable that the 
Buddhist religion was quite familiar to the Tai 
inhabitants of Nanchao for several centuries before 
many of them migrated south. The Buddhism of 
China is, however, the later form of the religion, known 
as the " Mahayana " or Great Vehicle, whereas all the 
Tai since the dawn of their modern history in the twelfth 
century have been followers of the " Hinayana " or 
Small Vehicle, which claims, with some justice, to be 
the true religion taught by the Buddha himself. 

It is fairly certain, therefore, that the Tai, as a race, 
became Buddhists after they had emigrated to the 
south. There may have been some Buddhists among the 
old Nanchao Tai, but as a nation they were almost 


certainly animists, worshipping the beneficent spirits 
of the hills, forests, and waters, and propitiating numerous 
demons with sacrifices and offerings. This simple 
faith survives in Siam to the present day, and in the 
north is still more truly the religion of the country 
people than is Buddhism. 


Marco Polo visited southern China about A.D. 1872, after the 
conquest of Nanchao by Kublai Khan. He describes non- 
Chinese races living in the south and south-west of China; 
presumably these were Tai people. 

Marco Polo mentions the Province of Karaian, with its capital 
at Yachi (probably Talifu). The people of this Province were 
idolaters, had a language peculiar to themselves, lived on rice, 
and used cowrie shells as money and for ornament. They also 
ate raw meat, chopped up and put into a pickle of salt and spices. 
This is the dish known as lap in northern Siam at the present 

In the Province of Kardandan, presumably also a Tai 
Province, Marco Polo found the people tattooing themselves with 
a five-pronged implement, just as the Tai do to-day. In this 
district they had neither temples nor idols, but worshipped their 
ancestors. They possessed no knowledge of writing. The 
treatment of disease was carried out by a process of exorcism of 
evil spirits, and the description given of this process does not 
greatly differ from the method in use at the present time in 
many parts of Siam. 



WE have seen in the preceding chapter the Tai in their 
original home, Nanchao. We have seen them migrating 
southwards, driven forth by the pressure of the Chinese. 
What manner of country was Siam in the days of those 
early Tai settlers ? 

The first inhabitants of Siam, long before the dawn of 
history, must have been very much the same as the 
cave-dwellers of Europe. Their old flint tools and 
weapons are constantly being dug up. These are just 
like those made by primitive man throughout the world. 
We can form no clear mental picture of the makers of 
these flint weapons. 

Later on, Siam was inhabited by two races, whose 
descendants may still be seen. In the south dwelt a 
curly-headed, prognathous race, of Negrito or Indo- 
nesian type. A few of these, now known as Sakais, are 
still to be found wandering, naked and squalid, in the 
forests of the Malay Peninsula. For centuries past 
they have been looked upon by their more cultured 
Siamese and Malay successors as mere animals. Sir 
Hugh Clifford, in graphic language, has described 
the annual Sakai hunt held by a former Sultan of 

A strain of Sakai blood is probably to be found among 
the Siamese inhabitants of the Malay Peninsula. Curly 



hair, rare among men of pure Tai race, is often to be 
seen there, and the curious chanting voice and clipped 
words of the Peninsular Siamese is [said to bear some 
resemblance to Sakai speech. 

In northern Siam dwelt a different race, the Was 
or Lawas. These people have not, like the Sakais, been 
almost exterminated. To the north of Burma they 
still inhabit several extensive districts. They are there 
divided into the wild and the tame Was. The former 
are chiefly known through their habit of collecting 
human heads, and decorating the approaches of 
their villages with rows of skulls. The tame Was 
of the Shan States, and their brethren the Lawas of 
Siam, have long since abandoned these ghoulish 
practices, and live as peaceful cultivators or hunters 
in their mountain villages. Most of the Lawas of 
Siam are now Buddhists. 1 

The Was and Lawas are rather tall, of fair complexion, 
and generally pleasing in appearance and manners. 
The present Laos, or Tai of northern Siam, show distinct 
traces of Lawa blood. 1 

Many hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years before 
the Christian era, another race of men settled in southern 
Siam, and gradually dispossessed and almost exterminated 
the aboriginal Negrito (Sakai) inhabitants. These 
intruders were the Khmers. Their origin is uncertain, 
but they were members of a race which now numbers 
many millions of descendants in the Indo-Chinese 

1 Heylyn, in his Cosmo graphic (London, 1664), says that the Laps were obliged 
to seek the protection of Siam owing to constant attacks by the hill tribes, called 
" Guc'om," who used to kill and eat their prisoners. This may point to a tradition 
that the Lawas of northern Siam were at one tune head-hunters. 

* In the southern Shan State of Kengtung, the present inhabitants of which 
arc Tai, a curious custom still exists. At the inauguration ceremony of each 
ruling Prince, two Was are brought down from one of their mountain villages, 
and take a prominent part in the proceedings. This is supposed to be an acknow- 
ledgment that the Was were once masters of the country. Ethnically and 
linguistically the Was or Lawas are allied to the Mon- Khmer race. 


Peninsula, The Cambodians are the direct descendants 
of the Khmers, and the Mohns or Takings of Pegu, the 
K'amuks of French Laos, and the K'as and other smaller 
tribes in the Shan States are all scions of the same original 

These Khmers, whatever their origin may have been, 
settled in prehistoric times along the whole sea coast 
from the mouth of the Irawadi to the mouth of the 
Mekong river. To judge by their modern descendants, 
they were a people of comparatively small stature, of 
darker complexion than the Lawas or Was, and somewhat 
effeminate in appearance. 

These early Khmer settlers, as also the Lawas in the 
north, were animists, and have left behind no stone 
or brick buildings of any kind. They were probably 
an illiterate and uncultured race. 

The Khmer civilisation, the monumental remains of 
which have so astonished all investigators, was of purely 
Indian origin. It is not possible to say for certain when 
the first Indian settlers came to Siam or Cambodia, but 
there is no reason to suppose that any of their buildings, 
the remains of which are now in existence, date from 
pre-Buddhist times. It may here be remarked that even 
in India the most ancient monuments which have as 
yet [been discovered are of Buddhist, not Brahmanic, 
origin. 1 

King Asoka, the famous ruler of Magadha, before he 
embraced the tenets of Buddha, invaded the country of 
Kalinga, in southern India. According to a rock 
inscription of King Asoka, over a hundred thousand 
natives of Kalinga were made prisoners in this campaign, 
and large numbers were slain. 

1 Buddha died 543 B.C., according to the computation in use in Buddhist 
countries. The best European authorities believe that the real date was about 
seventy years later. 


All the ancient stone inscriptions found in the region 
peopled by the Khmers are purely southern Indian, 
both in lettering and language, and there seems some 
reason to suppose that the first great influx of Indians 
into this region dated from the time of King Asoka's 
invasion of Kalinga, and that the settlers were natives 
of Kalinga. We may assume that within a few years 
these Indians formed colonies at various points along 
the coasts of the countries now known as Pegu, Siam, 
Cambodia and Cochin China. 

Some time after his conquest of Kalinga, King Asoka 
adopted the doctrines of Buddha, and became a most 
resolute apostle of Buddhism. In the year 307 B.C. 
he presided over a great Buddhist Council at Pataliputta. 
At this Council not only was the Buddhist Church 
purified from many abuses which had crept in, but a 
great missionary effort was inaugurated, for the purpose 
of spreading the faith in foreign lands. 

The Mahavamsa 1 gives a list of ten Buddhist mission- 
ary monks, who were sent forth to various parts of the 
world by King Asoka. Among these were the monks 
Sona and Uttara, who were sent to the land of Suvarnab- 
humi. Professor Rhys Davids, in his work on Buddhism, 
identifies Suvarnabhumi as consisting of the region 
extending from Pegu right down through the Malay 
Peninsula. There has been considerable controversy 
on this point, some authorities claiming that Suvar- 
nabhumi was Pegu, the others that it was southern Siam. 1 
The exact situation of the original Suvarnabhumi is 

translation of Geiger and Bode. 

Suvarnabhumi means " land of gold." There is no gold found in Pegu, 
but there are gold mines in southern Siam. There is also a town in Siam called 
Uthong, or " source of gold," which was known in the Middle Ages as Suwanp'umi, 
or Suvarnabhumi. It was the capital of the State ruled over by King Rama 
T'ibodi before he founded Ayuthia. Not far from this place was the ancient 
Buddhist shrine of Nak'on Prat'om or P'rapat'om, meaning " Original town " 
or " Original Pagoda." These are the principal points relied upon by those who 
claim that southern Siam was the cradle of Buddhism in Indo-China. 


immaterial. Certain it is that it was somewhere in the 
Indo-Chinese Peninsula, and that the Buddhist Church 
which was founded there gradually spread its teaching 
over the whole of the countries now known as Siam, 
Burma and Cambodia. 

Another point as to which there has been some di- 
vergence of opinion is whether Brahmanism or Buddhism 
was first introduced into Siam. It seems possible 
that there were Indian settlers in pre-iBuddhistic times. 
They must have professed Brahmanism. On the other 
hand, Brahmanism is not, and never was, a missionising 
faith. Early Buddhism was strong in missionary 
endeavour, and we may therefore assume that the 
first foreign religion adopted by the Mohn-Khmers 
was Buddhism. 

About the end of the first century of the Christian 
era, a certain King Kanishka was ruling over the realm 
of Gandhara in northern India. This monarch set up his 
capital at Purushapura (Peshawar). He was, like King 
Asoka, a great supporter of the Buddhist faith. He 
called together a Buddhist Council, at which the Sanscrit 
tongue was adopted as the religious language of Bud- 
dhism, and at which a large number of innovations in 
faith and practice were admitted. This Council resulted 
in the division of the Buddhist world into two sections ; 
those in the north of India followed the so-called 
Mahayana, or Greater Vehicle, those in the south 
clung to the original teaching of Buddha, which 
was distinguished by the name of Hinayana, or 
Lesser Vehicle. Among the Buddhists of to-day the 
Nepalese, Tibetans, Chinese, Japanese and Annamites, 
follow various forms of the Mahayana. The Cinga- 
lese, Burmese, Siamese and Cambodians adhere to the 


King Kanishka, like King Asoka, sent forth mission- 
aries, who preached the new Mahayana creed in foreign 
lands. In many of the ancient cities of Indo-China, for 
instance at Nak'on Prat'om (also called P'rapat'om) 
in Siam, and Thaton in Burma, images of Buddha, 
describing with finger and thumb a circle to emblemise 
the "wheel of the law," have been dug up. These 
are Mahayana images, and the fact of their dis- 
covery in Siam and Burma shows that the Mahayana 
form of Buddhism was at one time followed in these 

The approximate date of the earliest Buddhist archi- 
tectural remains in Siam is not known. Prince Damrong 
and other competent authorities believe that the original 
stupa over which the existing large pagoda of Nak'on 
Prat'om was built dates from the time of King Asoka. 
Others place it much later. 

After the death of King Kanishka of Gandhara, 
Buddhism gradually decayed in India before the 
influence of Brahmanism, and even in those parts 
in which held its own it became debased by the 
introduction of all kinds of Brahmanic ceremonies 
and superstitions. 

In the year A.D. 629 a Chinese monk, Hioun Tsang, 
who travelled to India for the purpose of investigating 
the Buddhist religion, has left it on record that he met 
with a certain monarch named Ciladitya, the ruler of 
Kanyakubja (now known as Kanauj) who was a devout 
supporter of Buddhism. The King held a general 
Council, at which both Brahman and Buddhist teachers 
were present. He also sent out missionaries to foreign 
countries. We may conclude that King Ciladitya's 
missionaries had some following in Siam, since images 
peculiar to that period have been discovered at Nak'on 


Prat'om, Nak'on Srit'ammarat, and in other parts of 

As time went on, we may suppose that among 
the Khmers of Siam, as in India, the religion of the 
people consisted of a jumble of northern and southern 
Buddhism and Brahmanism. 

As Buddhism declined in India, it may be supposed 
that it likewise declined among the Khmers. However 
this may be, it is certain that the earliest Khmer Kings 
of whom we have any knowledge were followers of 
Brahmanism. This line of Kings, presumably of Indian 
origin, commenced to rule early in the seventh 
century A.D. 

The eighth King of this Indian dynasty, named 
Jayavarman II, who reigned for over sixty years (A.D. 
802 to A.D. 869), was the builder of the famous stone 
temple at Angkor T'om, and one of his successors, 
Suryavarman II, built the still more celebrated temple 
at Angkor Wat, about A.D. noo. 

All these Kings of Cambodia were Brahmans, not 
Buddhists, and their temples were dedicated to the 
worship of Indian deities. 

The statement that these huge temples, the remains 
of which fill all beholders with awe and wonder, were 
built under any particular monarch, requires some 
qualification. Hundreds of years were probably spent 
in the construction of these buildings. Sir Hugh Clifford 
has given us a wonderful picture of the miserable Khmer 
serfs toiling from generation to generation to complete 
these Brahman temples for their Indian rulers and 
taskmasters. 1 Yet in the end the work was never 
finished. As we shall see in chapter iv., the power of 
the Cambodian Kings was so undermined by the Tai 

1 The Downfall of the Gods, 


immigrants from the north that in A.D. 1388 their capital 
was moved to Phnon Penh, and their still unfinished 
temples were abandoned. Long before that time, 
Brahmanism, triumphant in India, had declined in 
Indo-China. Before the great Brahman shrines of 
Cambodia were forsaken, Buddhism had been introduced 
into them. 

Buddhism and Brahmanism continued to exist side 
by side, but it is probable that neither of them really 
superseded the old animistic beliefs of the Khmer and 
Lawa inhabitants, or the Tai immigrants, until about 
the eleventh century, when the conquests of the 
Burmese King Anurutha resulted in a general 
adoption of Buddhism. To this day very many 
animistic beliefs and ceremonies persist, particularly 
in northern Siam. 

In A.D. 1296 a Chinese Ambassador was sent by the 
Emperor Kublai Khan to Cambodia. He has left an 
account of his embassy. 1 He describes the magnificent 
walls and buildings of the capital, Angkor T'om, though, 
strangely enough, he makes no mention of Angkor Wat, 
which he must presumably have seen. At that time 
the Cambodian Empire had already lost a great part of 
its possessions. As will be seen in the next chapter, 
Chiengmai, P'ayao, Suk'ot'ai, and probably Ut'ong 
(Suwanp'umi) were independent States, under Tai 
rulers, when the Chinese diplomat wrote his memoirs. 

According to this ambassador, Cambodia was a vassal 
State of China. Doubtless the independent Tai States 
were likewise regarded by the Chinese as vassals. These 
Chinese claims need not, however, be taken too seriously. 
Every nation of the earth was at one time regarded as 
subject to the " Middle Kingdom." It would probably 

1 Translated by M. Abel Remusat (Nouvellcs mtlangts Asutitques, Paris, 1829.) 


not be difficult to prove by Chinese documentary evidence 
that Queen Victoria was a vassal of the Emperor of 
China. There is no reason to suppose that China at 
any time exercised any real political control over 
Cambodia or over any of the ancient Tai States of 



WE must not picture to ourselves the Tai as an invading 
army, marching southwards, attacking the Cambodian 
Empire, and filching away its dominions. No ; the 
establishment of free Tai Kingdoms in Siam was the 
result rather of a series of rebellions than of an invasion. 

When did the first Tai settlers come to Siam ? We 
cannot say, but it may be confidently stated that for 
hundreds of years before any Tai ruler appeared, settlers 
from the north had been coming in, forming Tai com- 
munities, and intermarrying with the Lawa and Mohn- 
Khmer inhabitants. 

We have plenty of histories concerning the early 
achievements of the Tai in Siam; unfortunately, however, 
they are so intermingled with fable that it has become 
impossible to extract from them whatever germ of truth 
may exist, and the author, who desires to write a history, 
not a book of fairy tales, has been forced to abandon 
these early records in despair, 

We are given, for instance, a list of Kings (presumably 
Tai) of Chiengsen, going back to a time previous to the 
birth of Buddha, one of whom reigned for 120 years. 
This history of Chiengsen is a mere myth, but it provides 
us, in the end, with the name of a man who may perhaps 
be a real historical character. This man, Prince P'rohm, 



who is stated to have been a scion of the family of the 
Kings of Chiengsen, founded the city of Miiang Fang, 
about A.D. 857. He then attacked the Cambodian 
Empire, and conquered their territory down to the present 
town of Sawank'alok, where he founded a city. l 

This Prince P'rohm, if he existed, may be regarded as 
the first real Tai ruler in Siam, and his city, Muang 
Fang, as the earliest Tai stronghold. 

Doubtless Prince P'rohm found plenty of Tai settlers 
to welcome him on his victorious advance to the south. 

An independent, or semi-independent, Tai State was 
thus formed in northern Siam during the ninth century, 
and another Tai State was probably established at Miiang 
Sao, the modern Luang P'rabang, about the same time. 

In 1057 a famous King rose to power in Burma, 
namely King Anurutha the Great. His capital was at 
Pagan. This King extended his dominions in every 
direction, conquered southern China, and attacked the 
Cambodian Empire, then already waning in power. 
There is no doubt that practically the whole of the present 
territory of Siam was for some time under the sway of 
King Anurutha. 

King Anurutha was an ardent Buddhist. Some 
authorities think that he first introduced Buddhism into 
Burma. If so, he probably acquired his Buddhism from 
the great Buddhist centre of Nak'on Prat'om in southern 
Siam. Certain it is that there was some close connection 
between Nak'on Prat'om and Pagan. This is shown by 
the discovery in these two places of carvings and of ancient 
coins of a type found nowhere else in the world. 

Wherever King Anurutha acquired his religion, it is 
known that he was most ardent in spreading it. A great 
Buddhist revival took place in India at about the same 

'Then called Jalieng. 


time, and King Anurutha had no difficulty in importing 
missionaries from India and Ceylon, by whom Buddhism 
was preached in Burma and Siam. There is little doubt 
but that Buddhism acquired that predominating position 
which it still holds in both countries owing to the efforts 
of King Anurutha. 

King Anurutha's conquests permanently weakened 
the Cambodian Empire, and resulted, after the removal 
of Burmese control, in the formation of numerous 
independent, or semi-independent, Tai States. 

Siam has suffered much from Burmese invasions, and 
the shameful destruction of Ayut'ia in 1767 will never be 
forgotten. But it should also be re&iembered that Tai 
freedom owed its inception largely to the Burmese King 
Anurutha, and that to the same monarch must be ascribed 
the final establishment in Siam of that wonderful Faith 
which has, without doubt, strengthened the Siamese 
Kingdom and elevated the national character. 

In 1096 a descendant of Prince P'rohm, K'un Chom 
T'amma, founded the city of P'ayao, 1 which became the 
capital of an independent Tai State. 

About 1238 a blow was struck at the Cambodian 
Empire from which it never recovered. For some time 
before that date the Tai in the centre of Siam had been 
causing trouble to the Cambodian Government, being 
doubtless inspired by the examples set them at Miiang 
Fang and P'ayao. A Cambodian general named Khlon 
Lamphong was sent by the King of Cambodia to restore 
order, but he was defeated in a pitched battle by K'un 
Bang Klang T'ao and K'un P'a Miiang, two Tai chiefs. 
After the battle, these two chiefs entered the town of 
Suk'ot'ai, then the northern capital of the Cambodian 
Empire, and K'un Bang Klang was consecrated as 

1 North of Rahcng, at the junction of the Me P'ing and Me Wang Rivers. 


King of Suk'ot'ai with the title of King Sri Int'arat'itya, 
a title originally conferred upon his ally, K'un P'aMttang, 
by the King of Cambodia. 

Thus was founded the Tai Kingdom of Suk'ot'ai, 
destined to become a mighty state, though its power was of 
but short duration. 

The capture of Suk'ot'ai was an event which so fas- 
cinated the imagination of the Tai people that they have 
invested the first Tai King of Suk'ot'ai with the mysterious 
attributes of a certain legendary hero, P'ra Ruang. The 
name P'ra Ruang is, in fact, conferred without discrimina- 
tion upon all the Kings of Suk'ot'ai. 

The reign of King Sri Int'arat'itya, first King of 
Suk'ot'ai and, one might say, first King of Siam, was 
spent in extending his dominions at the expense of the 
King of Cambodia and also of his Western neighbours. 

In particular, as we know from a carved inscription, 
he entered upon a war with the Prince of Chot (Mesort) 
who had tried to capture the town of Tak. In this war, 
Prince Ramk'amheng, the third son of King Int'arat'itya, 
greatly distinguished himself by engaging in single 
combat with the Prince of Chot ; both the combatants 
were mounted on elephants, and the young Prince 
Ramk'amheng utterly defeated his opponent and forced 
him to flee, with all his army. 

During this King's reign, Siam received a tremendous 
wave of Tai immigrants, who fled from Yunnan after 
Kublai Khan's conquest of the Nanchao Kingdom in 
1254. Doubtless it is due to this fact that King Int'- 
arat'itya was able to deal so successfully with the Cam- 
bodians ; he had a constant supply of Tai recruits from the 
north. Few now realise that the existence of Siam as a 
sovereign State is partly due to the conquests of Kublai 
Khan in southern China. 


The date of King Int'arat'itya's death is not known. 
His eldest son died young, and he was succeeded by his 
second son, who bore the name of King Ban Mliang. 
This King did not reign for long ; he died about 1275 
and was followed by his ambitious and valiant younger 
brother, Ramk'amheng. 

King Ramk'amheng justly earned the title of Ram- 
k'amheng the Great. He was one of the most redoubtable 
warriors and conquerors whom Siam has ever produced. 
In his long reign of over forty years he raised the strug- 
gling state of Suk'ot'ai to be a powerful and extensive 
Kingdom. When he died, the following cities and dis- 
tricts were subject or tributary to him : Phre, Nan, 
Luang P'rabang, P'itsanulok, Lomsak, Wiengchan, Nak'- 
onsawan, Suwanp'umi, 1 Ratburi, P'etchaburi, Nak'on 
Srit'ammarat, Raheng, Mesot, Tenasserim, Tavoy, 
Martaban, Taungu, Pegu right up to the Bay of 
Bengal, and other districts which cannot now be 

It must not, however, be assumed that King Ram- 
k'amheng exercised effective control over all these regions. 
For instance, the Prince of Sup'an had by this time already 
attained to a powerful position, and the Tai rulers of 
Lopburi and the ancient city of Ayodhia (both related 
to King Ramk'amheng) were either independent or 
were subject to the King of Cambodia. We read in 
Chinese history that in 1289 a Tai State to the south of 
Suk'ot'ai sent an embassy to China. This State was 
called by the Chinese " Law Hok Kok " and is stated 
to have later overcome Suk'ot'ai. It was probably 
Lawo. 1 

The eastern portion of Siam, including Chantabun, 
still belonged to Cambodia. To the north-west lay two 

* Sup' an. ' Now called Lopbun. 


independent States, namely : (i) The Kingdom of Lan- 
nat'ai, comprising Chiengmai, Nak'onLamp'ang,Lamp'un, 
Chiengrai, Chiengsen, and the present State of Kengtung 
(then called K'emarat) ; and (2) the small but redoubtable 
Principality of P'ayao. 

A great many of the events of King Ramk'amheng's 
reign are known to us, partly from Burmese, partly from 
Chinese sources, and partly from stone inscriptions which 
have been discovered. 

The circumstances under which King Ramk'amheng 
acquired ascendancy in Pegu are very interesting. 

The Burmese Governor of Martaban, Alienma, 
having disobeyed the orders of the King of Burma, 
Tarekpyemin, was turned out by the Burmese. He 
escaped to Siam and took an oath of fealty to King 
Ramk'amheng, who thereupon restored him to power 
at Martaban. The Burmese Government was at 
that time so disorganised that no interference was 
attempted. For some time previous to this, a Shan 
adventurer named Mogado had been residing at 
Suk'ot'ai, where he became a great favourite with 
the Siamese King, to whom he presented a white 
elephant which had come into his possession. This, 
be it said, is the first Siamese white elephant of 
which history makes mention. 

While King Ramk'amheng was absent on a campaign 
against Cambodia, Mogado eloped with one of his 
daughters, and escaped to Martaban, where he was well 
known, having previously resided there as a trader. He 
rebelled against Aleinma, murdered him, and made 
himself Governor of Martaban. He later quarrelled with 
the King of Pegu, defeated him, and made himself King. 
In order to strengthen his position he submitted to his 
old patron, King Ramk'amheng, to whom he swore 


fealty, and in 1286 the Siamese King conferred upon him 
the title of Chao Fa Rua. 1 

An interesting feature of the reign of King 
Ramk'amheng was the opening of direct political relations 
with China. Kublai Khan, in his old age, sought to 
consolidate his power by conciliating those neighbouring 
rulers whom he had not thought it necessary to subdue. 
In 1282 a Chinese Mandarin named Haw Chow Chi 
arrived at the Court of Suk'ot'ai to negotiate a treaty of 
amity between China and Siam, and in 1294 King 
Ramk'amheng himself proceeded on a visit to the 
Emperor. Would that he had kept a diary of his journey ! 
We may conclude that he enjoyed his visit, for he repeated 
it in 1300, and on this second occasion brought back with 
him a number of Chinese artisans, who inaugurated the 
famous Sawank'alok potteries, the products of which are 
now so much sought after by collectors. King Ram- 
k'amheng did not meet Kublai Khan on his second visit 
to China, for the aged Emperor had died in 1295. 

King Ramk'amheng maintained friendly relations with 
his northern neighbours, the King of Lannat'ai (Chieng- 
mai) and the Prince of P'ayao. 

King Mengrai of Lannat'ai was born at Chiengsen in 
the year of the establishment of a Siamese Kingdom at 
Suk'ot'ai (1238). Legend has it that he was born under 
miraculous circumstances, and has invested him with 
superhuman strength, and semi-divine attributes ; but 
he was certainly a remarkable man. Early in his life he 
founded the town of Chiengrai, where he ruled for 
several years. In 1281 he attacked and captured the 
ancient city of Lamp'un, then called Harip'unjai, which 
appears then to have been ruled by a Mohn dynasty, as 

1 Wareru in Burmese history. It is related that the King of Siam sent him 
a present of a white elephant This is improbable, as the Kings of Siam never 
gave white elephants to vassal Pnnces. 


vassals of the King of Cambodia. Lamp'un did not 
satisfy his requirements as a capital, so in 1290 he founded 
the city of Wieng Kumkan, the remains of which can 
still be seen five miles from Chiengmai. 1 This site 
being subject to inundations, the present city of Chiengmai 
was founded in 1296. 

Before laying the foundation of Chiengmai, King 
Mengrai invited King Ramk'amheng and K'un Ngam 
Miiang, Prince of P'ayao, to co-operate with him in 
choosing a suitable site. The task was an easy one : the 
two advisers heard of a site on which two white sambhurs, 
two white barking deer, and a white mouse with a family 
of five little white mice had been seen. Such omens 
were not to be despised, and on that spot the town of 
Chiengmai was built. 

The friendship of these three potentates must have 
been very genuine, for it had withstood a severe strain. 

King Ramk'amheng, like many other great men, could 
not resist a pretty face. Some years before the foundation 
of Chiengmai, during a visit which he paid to Prince 
Ngam Miiang at P'ayao, he was found paying far too much 
attention to the Prince's beautiful consort. Prince 
Ngam Miiang discovered the intrigue, and seized King 
Ramk'amheng. In his jealous anger, his first impulse 
was to slay the offender, but on second thoughts he 
decided to submit the matter to the arbitration of King 
Mengrai (then of Chiengrai). King Mengrai proceeded 
at once to P'ayao and to him Prince Ngam Miiang poured 
out his bitter complaints ; but King Mengrai pointed out 
to him the importance of maintaining friendship between 
the three Tai States, so as to resist their common enemies, 
and urged him to do nothing rash. Finding that King 

1 There was probably a more ancient nty near the sight of Chiengmai, stated 
by some authorities to have been called Lamaing. The rums of the temple called 
Wat Chet Yot date from before the time of King Mengrai. 


Ramk'amheng admitted his fault, King Mengrai in- 
structed him to apologise, and to pay to Prince Ngam 
Miiang 990,000 cowrie shells as compensation. King 
Ramk'amheng carried out these conditions, and Jthe 
friendship between the three potentates became thereafter 
even firmer than before. 

This incident shows that King Ramk'amheng truly 
deserved the title of " Great/' A pettier man would have 
sought to revenge himself on the weaker neighbour who 
had humbled him ; but King Ramk'amheng was noble 
enough to admit when he was in the wrong, and to apolo- 
gise to the man whom he had injured. 

We are further told concerning King Ramk'amheng 
that he caused a bell to be put up at Suk'ot'ai, to be rung 
by any person who had suffered wrong or injury, and was 
desirous of appealing to the King for justice. When 
the bell was heard to ring, the King came forth and held 
enquiry into the matter complained of. No man ever 
appealed in vain to this great ruler of justice. 

King Ramk'amheng's chief claim to fame, however, 
is founded upon his reorganisation of the Siamese 
alphabet. Until his time various forms of the Cam- 
bodian alphabet had been in use in Siam. King Ram- 
k'amheng altered and adapted the existing characters so 
as to render them suitable for writing Tai words. The 
alphabet introduced by him is, in its essential features, the 
same as that in use at the present day. This alphabet 
was first brought into use in I283. 1 

The exact date of King Ramk'amheng's death is not 
known, but he was still living in 1314, for in that year he 
invested the grandson of Wareru (Mogado) as vassal 

1 The alphabet of King Ramk'amheng was adopted throughout Siam including 
the Cluongmai dominions. The present western Lao alphabet is a more modern 
form, corrupted by Durmese influence. It is, in fact, merely a relic of foreign 
domination. The Luang P'rabang alphabet is a form of the Ramk'amheng 


King of Pegu, with the title of " Prachao Sen Mttang 

Prince Damrong fixes the date of King Ramk'amheng's 
death in (about) the year 1317. If this is correct, he 
died in the same year as his friend King Mengrai of 
Chiengmai, who also departed this life in 1317, after 
reigning for 59 years. The old Prince Ngam Muang of 
P'ayao lived on until 1328. He reigned for sixty years. 
Ten years after his death P'ayao ceased to be an 
independent State, and was annexed to Chiengmai (1338). 

King Ramk'amheng was succeeded by his son, who 
bore the title of Loet'ai. 

Not much is known concerning King Loet'ai, Like 
so many of the sons of the great warriors of whom we 
read in history, he was utterly unable to defend his father's 
hard-won possessions. Scarcely had he ascended the 
throne when the King of Pegu threw off his allegiance and 
attacked and captured Tavoy and Tenasserim ; and an 
attempt made by King Loet'ai in 1330 to recover those 
cities met with no success. 1 

In Siam itself, moreover, a rival power had sprung up, 
which was destined to obtain, in time, dominion over the 
whole Kingdom. This was the Principality of Suwanp'- 
umi, or Ut'ong, ruled over by an energetic Prince who 
was descended from the Chiengsen Princes, and was 
probably a distant relative of King Mengrai. Before the 
end of King Loet'ai's reign, the Prince of Ut'ong had 
annexed a large portion of the dominions of the Suk'ot'ai 
Kingdom. Parts of the Cambodian Empire, moreover, 
which had never been conquered, even by King Ram- 
k'amheng, were annexed by the Prince of Ut'ong, includ- 
ing Lopburi, the old city of Ayodhya, and Chantabun. 

*The Burmese annals relate that Tavoy and Tenasserim were retaken by 
Siam. This was probably the work of King Rama T'ibodi of Ayut'ia. 
Near the modem town of Sup* an. 


In 1350 the Prince of Ut'ong founded a new city at 
Ayut'ia, and proclaimed himself King, with the title of 
Rama T'ibodi I. This was the commencement of the 
present Kingdom of Siam. 

The reign of King Rama T'ibodi must be dealt with in 
another chapter, but it will be convenient first to describe 
briefly the concluding events of the Kingdom of Suk'ot'ai. 

KingLoet'ai died in 1347 ; his son, Prince T'ammaraja 
Liit'ai was compelled to fight for the throne against some 
rebels or conspirators, whom he overcame and executed. 
He succeeded to a very small Kingdom, including only the 
towns of Suk'ot'ai, Sawank'alok, Kamp'engp'et, P'itsan- 
ulok, P'ichit, and Nak'on Sawang, and some claim to 
suzerainty over P're, Nan and Luang P'rabang. 1 

King T'ammaraja did not seek to recover the lost 
Suk'ot'ai dominions, but devoted himself to religious 
works, such as the building of pagodas and monasteries, 
and sought in every way to promote the happiness and 
welfare of his subjects. 

The King effected religious reformations with the aid 
of Buddhist priests whom he caused to come from Ceylon, 
and had several large images of Buddha set up at Suk'ot'ai. 
One of these, cast in 1361, may be seen to-day in Wat 
Sut'at at Bangkok. 

In the same year (1361) King T'ammaraja Lut'ai 
became a Buddhist priest, an event which was considered 
so remarkable that it was connected in the public mind 
with an earthquake and other portents which occurred at 
about the same time. 

King T'ammaraja Liit'ai was a great builder of roads 
and digger of canals. He made a road from Suk'ot'ai 
to Sawank'alok, and other roads to connect his capital 
with Kamp'engp'et and other smaller cities. It is 

1 He appears to have been crowned as King or Viceroy of Sawank'alok in 1340. 


further recorded of him that " his mercy and charity 
were as boundless as the waters of the ocean. He loved 
his people like his own children. He was wont to pardon 
criminals, give them the wherewithal to make restitution 
for their crimes, and send them home. In his time there 
were no slaves in all the land. All men were free and 
happy. His fame spread among all nations, and men 
flocked from every side to live in peace under his gracious 

King T'ammaraja Liit'ai was a lover of peace. Only 
the few occasions when he was forced to go to war, such 
as an expedition which he undertook against P're and 
Nan in 1359, he won less renown by his military prowess 
than by the humanity with which he treated his prisoners. 
In the East, at that period, prisoners of war who were not 
slaughtered usually became slaves. But this King had 
no use for slaves, so " he supported and fed his prisoners, 
and would not let them come to misery and ruin." 

Sic transit gloria mundi. The very name of this great 
and good King was forgotten, together with all his noble 
deeds, until the year 1833, when the stone inscription 
describing his reign was deciphered, after having lain 
neglected for five hundred years. Later, in 1912, a 
treatise on Buddhist cosmology, composed by this King, 
was discovered and published. It is called the Trai- 
bhumikatha y and bears, both in its style and in its spirit, 
the imprint of the personality of King T'ammaraja 

This monarch also built palaces and other public 

1 This is from a stone inscription in the Khmer language, discovered in 1833 
by Prince Maha Mongkut (later King Rama IV) and translated by Prime 
Pawaret. This stone has since crumbled away to such an extent that a large 
part of the inscription has now vanished for ever. There is reason to suppose 
that Pnncc Pawaret's translation was not very exact. 

For a French translation of this inscription, in its present state, and of other 
stone inscriptions dealing with the Kings of Suk'ot'ai, see the Rtccuil des 
Insrri7>f?ons du Siam, Part I, by Professor G. Coedes published in Siamese and 
French, Bangkok, 1924. 


buildings at Suk'ot'ai, the ruins of which may still be 
seen. He was, moreover, an astronomer, and reformed 
the calendar, and was also an adept at astrology, for the 
teaching of which science he instituted a school in the 

The date of King T'ammaraja Lfit'ai's death is not 
known, but he probably died about 1370. He was 
succeeded by his son, Prince Sai, who assumed the same 
title of T'ammaraja. This title became a kind of generic 
one for the rulers of Suk'ot'ai and P'itsanulok. 

King T'ammaraja II (Sai), after a reign of eight years, 
was forced to become a vassal of the King Ayut'ia. This 
event marks the end of the independent Tai Kingdom of 
Suk'ot'ai, after an existence of 132 years. The glory of 
this kingdom was mainly due to one man, King Ram- 
k'amheng ; had his successors been warriors like him, the 
Siamese Kingdom of Suk'ot'ai might have endured until 
the present time. 

The Kings of Suk'ot'ai continued for some years to 
rule as vassals of Ayut'ia. T'ammaraja II reigned until 
about 1406, and was succeeded by his son, T'ammaraja 
III, who was probably a mere boy, since it is recorded 
that in 1409 the Queen -mother assisted at the consecra- 
tion of a high priest. He died in 1419. The next 
King, T'ammaraja IV, appears to have been a brother of 
T'ammaraja III. He was little more than hereditary 
Governor of Suk'ot'ai, and his successors hardly deserve 
the title of King ; though, as we shall see later, a scion of 
this family was destined, in 1568, to become King of 
Siam and to revive the title of T'ammaraja. 



As already related in the preceding chapter, Ayut'ia was 
founded by the Prince of Ut'ong (now called Sup'an) 
in the year 1350. 

There are few persons mentioned in Siamese history 
around whose names there hangs a greater amount of 
mystery than the founder of Ayut'ia. It has been sug- 
gested that he came from Kamp'engp'et, from Cambodia, 
or from Sawank'alok. To discuss all the arguments 
would be out of place in a work of this kind. The best 
authorities now hold that he was the ruler of Ut'ong, 
or Suwanp'umi, an ancient city standing near the site of 
the modern town of Sup'an, and that the name by which 
he is known in the Siamese annals, P'ya Ut'ong, is not 
a personal name, but the name of his original domain. 
In this same manner, the Chief of Chiengmai is called at 
the present time " Chao Chiengmai." 

We do not, therefore, know the personal name of the 
founder of Ayut'ia. 

It would appear that he was not the son, but the son- 
in-law, of the preceding Prince of Ut'ong. He is 
supposed to have been a scion of the family reigning at 

1 Most of the names of the Kings of Siam given in this book are titles rather 
than real names. It was not customary to icfcr to a King by his name during 
his lifetime, and in many cases the personal names of the Kings are not now 
known. Even the titles are often doubtful. Each King had his full style and 
title inscribed on a golden plate, but these were all lost when Ayut'ia was de- 
stroyed by the Burmese in 1767. The names or titles used m this book are those 
commonly used by Siamese historians. 


O c 



J ~ 


Chiengsen, and was, therefore, related to the King* of 
Chiehgmai. It is probable that the old Prince of jut'ong 
had no sons by his chief wife, but only a daughter* This 
daughter was married to the founder of Ayut'ia, who 
later became Prince of Ut'ong"(P'ya Ut'ong) by the right 
of his wife, in preference to his brothers-in-law, the sons 
of inferior wives of the old Prince. 

His predecessor, the former P'ya Ut'ong, had been a 
great warrior, and had acquired a considerable part of 
the dominions once ruled over by King Ramk'amheng 
of Suk'ot'ai, including Nak'on Srit'ammarat, Ratburi, 
and P'etchaburi, as well as TenasseYim and Tavoy, 
which had been lost to Suk'ot'ai in 1318, and which 
Ut'ong had annexed about 1325. 

The history of the rise of P'ya Ut'ong's power is very 
obscure, and it is impossible to say what portion of the 
domain which was under his control when he founded 
Ayut'ia had been acquired by him, and what portion 
have been inherited from his father-in-law. 

The reasons which led to the foundation of Ayut'ia are 
likewise not known for certain. Legends are plentiful 
with regard to this question, but the truth appears to be 
that Ut'ong was abandoned owing to an epidemic. 
P'ya Ut'ong first settled to the south of the present town 
of Ayut'ia, but after three years he decided to build his 
capital on an island in the river. This was the beginning 
of the city of Ayut'ia, the ruins of which are familiar to 
all travellers to Siam. The sea was at that period much 
nearer to Ayut'ia than is now the case. The site chosen 
was not far from the ancient city of Ayodhya, which had 
been abandoned or destroyed. 

P'ya Ut'ong, after founding Ayut'ia, assumed the 
title of Rama T'ibodi, a title later borne by many other 
Kings of Siam, including His late Majesty. 


At the time of the foundation of Ayut'ia, according to 
the Siamese annals, King Rama T'ibodi's dominions were 
of great extent, including the whole of the kingdom of 
Suk'ot'ai. We know, however, that this is an exaggera- 
tion. Suk'ot'ai, though declining in power, was still 
an independent State, ruled over by King Loet'ai. 

King Rama T'ibodi probably held sway over the 
districts of Ayut'ia, Lopburi, Sup'an, Ratburi, P'etcha- 
buri, Nak'on Srit'ammarat, Singora, Chantabun (con- 
quered from Cambodia), Tenasserim, and Tavoy. He 
had even extended his conquests as far as Malacca, and 
was thus the first King of Siam to rule over a Malay 

Those who have visited the ruins of Ayut'ia and have 
seen the remains of mighty walls and ramparts, and the 
ruins of magnificent temples and pagodas, must not sup- 
pose that all these date from the time of King Rama 
T'ibodi I. In his time Ayut'ia was a very small city, 
with a wall of mud, and the buildings, including the 
Royal Palace, were constructed of timber. The brick 
wall, parts of which may still be seen, was built by King 
Chakrap'at (1548)' and the Palace, the ruins of which 
are still discernible, dates from the time of King Trail- 
okanat (1448). 

Early in his reign as King of Ayut'ia King Rama 
T'ibodi installed his brother-in-law, Prince P'angoa, as 
Governor of Sup'an, with the title of Boromoraja Chao, 
and his own son, Prince Ramesuen, was appointed 
Governor of Lopburi. The King was only thirty-seven 
years of age at that time, so Prince Ramesuen must have 
been a mere lad. 

It seems likely that King Rama T'ibodi, when still 
Prince of Ut'ong, had had occasion to measure his 

l The walls of Ayut'ia were restored by King Prasat T'ong in 1634. 


strength against the waning power of the Cambodian 
Empire. However this may be, in 1352 we find him 
engaged in a war with Cambodia. A young monarch, 
named Boroma Lamp'ongsaraja, had recently succeeded 
to the Cambodian throne, and the King of Siam doubtless 
thought it a good opportunity to deal a blow at his eastern 
neighbour. He therefore placed his son, Prince Rame- 
suen, at the head of an army for the invasion of Cambodia. 

The young Prince soon showed himself an incompetent 
commander. He allowed his army to become separated 
into two portions, with the result that his advance army, 
consisting of five thousand men, was attacked by the 
Cambodian forces, led by the Crown Prince of that 
country, and utterly routed. 

The news of this reverse caused consternation at 
Ayut'ia, and Prince Boromoraja (P'angoa) was hurriedly 
despatched with another army to the assistance of his 
nephew. He defeated the Cambodians and invested 
their capital, which was taken after a siege of nearly a 
yejr. The King of Cambodia died during the siege, and 
the Crown Prince was set up as King, apparently as a 
vassal of Siam. He bore the title of King P'asat. 

In the year 1354, as related in the last chapter, King 
Loet'ai of Suk'ot'ai died, and his death was followed by 
disturbances in the northern kingdom. King Rama 
T'ibodi seized this opportunity to invade the Suk'ot'ai 
dominions, and captured the town of Jainat. The new 
King of Suk'ot'ai, T'ammaraja Liit'ai, made no attempt 
to resist this aggression by force, but sent envoys to 
beg for the return of Jainat. This was agreed to, but 
history does not relate upon what conditions, 

In the year 1357 two Princes of Ayut'ia, Chao Keo and 
Chao T'ai, died of cholera. This is the first mention 

of cholera in Siam. Would that it had been the last 1 


King Rama T'ibodi was a great legislator. 

We may assume that the Tai brought many of the legal 
customs of Nanchao into Siam with them, and it is not 
improbable that many laws had been committed to 
writing in Suk'ot'ai and elsewhere long before the 
foundation of Ayut'ia. The first Siamese laws of which 
we possess any definite knowlege are, however, those 
promulgated by King Rama T'ibodi I. Many of these 
laws have since been altered and extended by additions 
from the Code of Manu, which was introduced later 
from Burma, and was not altogether an improvement ; 
but it may be taken that in their main principles the laws 
have not been greatly changed ; and many of them are 
still in force at the present time. 

To give a complete commentary on the laws of King 
Rama T'ibodi I would require a volume of some size. 
A few extracts and examples may, however, be of interest, 
as showing the general type of Siamese mediaeval legis- 

The following laws are attributed to King Rama 
T'ibodi I : 

i. The Law of Evidence (A.D. 1350). 

The most curious feature of this law is the large 
number of classes of persons who were precluded from 
giving evidence, except with the consent of both parties, 
to a case. These included : infidels, debtors of the 
parties, slaves of the parties, diseased persons, children 
under seven, old persons over seventy, backbiters, 
covetous persons, professional dancers, beggars, homeless 
persons, the deaf, the blind, prostitutes, pregnant women, 
hermaphrodites, impotent persons, sorcerers, witches, 
lunatics, quack doctors, fishermen, bootmakers, gamblers, 
thieves, criminals, and executioners. 

It must have been rather hard on a man who happened 


to be assaulted in the presence of an executioner, a 
bootmaker, and a hermaphrodite. 

2. The Law on Offences against the Government 
(A.D. 1351). 

This law provides very severe penalties for offences 
against the Government, but perhaps not so severe as 
those in vogue in Europe at the same period. 

An official who stole Government money was liable to 
one of eight punishments : (i) death, (2) degradation, 
(3) twenty-five strokes with a rattan, (4) to be reduced to 
the position of a commoner, (5) a fine equal to three times 
the amount stolen, (6) a fine of double the amount stolen, 
(7) to refund the amount stolen, (8) to be suspended 
from his functions. 

This law, however, showed care for the common 
people as well as for the King's Government. An 
official who oppressed or despoiled those subjected to his 
control was liable to be punished by death or by flogging, 
or to undergo other severe penalties. 

3. The Law on Receiving Plaints (A.D. 1355). 
This law provides fines for offences similar to Cham- 
perty and Maintenance. 

It contains some curious provisions, e.g. : " If any 
worthless and unfilial man attempts to bring a case 
against his parents or grandparents, let him be soundly 
flogged as an example to others ; and his claim shall not 
be admitted." 

4. The Law on Abduction (A.D. 1356). 

This law deals with offences such as the abduction of 
the wives, daughters, and more especially the slaves, of 
others. It is particularly interesting as showing that 
slavery was a widely spread and strongly established 
institution in King Rama T'ibodi's realm. As we have 
seen in Chapter HI, the northern Siamese Kingdom of 


Suk'ot'ai discouraged slavery. It is not, therefore, 
surprising to find in the Law on Abduction a reference 
to the prevalence among slaves of a habit of escaping away 
to the dominions of the King of Suk'ot'ai. 

5. The Law on Offences Against the People (A.D. 


This law deals with offences such as trespass, assault, 
false imprisonment, and so forth. One section provides 
for the payment of damages in cases where property is 
lost during an affray. The effect of this may still be seen 
in Siam : a person who is assaulted is very apt to allege 
that his ring came off, or that his money rolled out of his 
pocket and was lost. 

6. The Law Concerning Robbers (A.D. 1350 and 1366). 
This law deals with robbery, burglary, arson, murder, 

and other serious crimes. It contains several wise 
provisions. Here is one : " If any person receive stolen 
property, knowing it to be stolen, let him produce the 
thief. Should he fail to do so, let him be punished as 
though he were himself the thief." 

Some of the punishments seem curious to-day. " If 
any person shall steal fish from a private pond or tank, 
let him pay a fine of 333,333 cowrie shells. 11 Let us hope 
that the thief was made to count the shells. 

7. The Law on Miscellaneous Matters (A.D. 1359). 
This law deals with a great variety of subjects, such, 

for instance, as the theft of growing crops, diversion of 
irrigation ditches, cheating, etc. It also provides punish- 
ment for various kinds of witches, sorcerers, necromancers 
and harbourers of familiar spirits. The methods of these 
worthies, such as preparing love philtres, and burying 
small wax images of those whom they wished to destroy, 
seem to have been very similar to those of their confreres 
in England at that period. 


8. The Law of Husband and Wife (A,D. 1359). 

This law, as may be supposed, recognises polygamy. 
Most of its provisions, however, appear to be meant to 
apply to monogamous unions. Then, as now, polygamy 
was probably a luxury for the few. 

Section 65. " If a husband and wife have a physical 
or mental distaste for one another and desire to be 
divorced, let it be as they wish ; for they two have no 
further blessing on their union, and therefore should not 
be compelled to live together." The author begs to 
bring this section to the notice of the Spiritual Lords of 
the British Parliament. 

On the whole, the laws of King Rama T'ibodi I were 
wise and just, judged by the standards of his time, and 
were well adapted to meet the needs of Siamese society 
as then constituted. 

King Rama T'ibodi I died in 1369, at the age of 
fifty-seven. There is no other example in comparatively 
modern times of a founder of a powerful State concerning 
whom we possess so little knowledge. What was his 
name ? Who was his father ? Where was he born ? 
We do not know. Nor do we know anything definite of 
his history until he founded Ayut'ia, being then aged 
thirty-seven. We can read his laws, and we can see the 
results of his conquests ; but, considered as a man, he 
remains one of the mysteries of History. 


The most probable conjecture as to the origin of King Rama 
T'ibodi I is that advanced by Prince Damrong, namely that he 
was a scion of a family which came down from die north 
(presumably from Chiengsen) and which set up an independent 
Principality on the site of the then deserted city of Nak'on 
Prat'om (P'rapat'om). As King Rama T'ibodi left his ancestral 
city and settled in the realm of his father-in-law, we may perhaps 
assume that he was a younger son. 



KING RAMA T'IBODI left the throne to his son, Prince 
Ramesuen, the Governor of Lopburi. The new King 
was unpopular, probably owing to the incompetence he 
had shown as a General in the Cambodian war. A 
year after his accession disturbances broke out which he 
was unable to quell, and he was urged by his Ministers 
to abdicate in favour of his uncle, Prince Boromoraja 
(P'angoa), the Governor of Sup'an. The matter was 
amicably arranged. Prince Boromoraja became King, 
and King Ramesuen reverted to his former position as 
Governor of Lopburi (1370). 

King Boromoraja I was the fifth son of the former 
Prince of Ut'ong (Sup'an) and was the brother-in-law 
of King Rama T'ibodi I. His name, P'angoa, is an 
archaic form of the word ngoa y meaning five. At that 
time it was very common to call children by numbers, 
even in noble or princely families. Ngoa may be com- 
pared to the Roman name Quintus. 1 

Shortly after ascending the throne, King Boromoraja 
sent an embassy to the Emperor of China. The power 
of the Mongol rulers of China had just succumbed to a 
series of blows dealt by the virtuous and illustrious 

I This system of nomenclature was as follows : i, Ai ; 2. Yi ; 3, Sam ; 4, 
Sai ; 5, Ngoa ; 6, Lok ; 7, Chet ; 8, Pet ; 9, Chao ; xo, Chong. These same 
names are in use among the Shans at the present day, though most of them have 
There was a ftirnilar system for naming girls* 


Hongwou, first Emperor of the Ming dynasty. This 
Emperor made Nankin his capital, and thither, in the 
year 1371, repaired the Siamese Ambassadors, with a 
letter announcing that King Boromoraja had taken over 
the government from his nephew, King Ramesuen, who 
was unable to control the people. 

Cordial relations with China were continued through- 
out this reign. In the year 1373 a Siamese Princess, 
probably the mother of the ex-King Ramesuen, sent 
envoys to Nankin, who were well received by the 
Emperor and Empress ; later, in 1384, the King's 
nephew, Prince Nak'on In 1 (later King of Siam), sent 
envoys with presents to the Imperial pair, who received 
them graciously, and despatched gifts in return. 

In 1375 a son of the ex-King Ramesuen sent an 
embassy to Nankin, and in the same year Prince Nak'on 
In visited Nankin in person, and brought back an auto- 
graphed letter from the Emperor to King Boromoraja. 

While King Boromoraja was cultivating friendly 
relations with China, he was occupied nearer home in 
subjugating the dominions of his neighbour, the King of 

The two Tai Kingdoms, as may be supposed, could 
not continue to exist side by side. The weaker was 
bound to succumb. The continual escape of slaves into 
the free State of Suk'ot'ai was doubtless a cause of 

Whatever the excuse for war may have been, we find 
King Boromoraja in 1371, shortly after his accession, 
invading Suk'ot'ai and capturing several towns. In 
1372 he made further annexations, and in 1373 he invested 
Kamp'engp'et, the western outpost of the Suk'ot'ai 

1 This title means " Prince of Int'aburi." The town of Int'aburi, which still 
exists, was at that time under Sup'an. 


dominions. The Governor of Kamp'engp'et was killed 
in the fighting, but the town was not taken. 

In 1375 P'itsanulok, the second capital of the King of 
Suk'ot'ai, was captured, and a large number of prisoners 
" swept away " doubtless into slavery. 

In 1376 another attempt was made to take Kam- 
p'engp'et. A Lao army was sent down from Chiengmai, 
under a leader named T'ao P'a Kong, 1 to assist the 
Governor of Kamp'engp'et. The Governor and the 
Lao General tried to lure the Siamese army into an 
ambush, but failed, and were driven away with great 
slaughter. In spite of this, the town of Kamp'engp'et 
was still able to resist, and remained untaken till the 
next year. 

In 1378 Kamp'engp'et was once more attacked. 
This time the King of Suk'ot'ai was himself present. 
Realising the hopelessness of further resistance, he 
surrendered the city, and made submission to King 

This event marks the final extinction of the independent 
Kingdom of Suk'ot'ai. At the time of King Boromoraja's 
accession Suk'ot'ai was but a shadow of the Kingdom 
of King Ramk'amheng. Nevertheless, six invasions, 
extending over a period of eight years, were necessary 
before final success was obtained by the southern 

The King of Suk'ot'ai, T'ammaraja II, was not 
deposed, but was left to reign over a portion of his former 
dominions as a vassal of Ayut'ia, with his capital at 
P'itsanulok. His descendants continued to reign there 
as vassal Kings for over seventy years more. The 
western part of the Suk'ot'ai dominions, including 
Kamp'engp'et, was annexed to Ayut'ia. 

1 P'a Kong was the ancient name of Nan* 


Suk'ot'ai having been disposed of, no impediment lay 
in extending Siamese influence to the Kingdom of 
Lannat'ai (Chiengmai). No good opportunity arose, 
however, until the last year of King Boromoraja's reign. 

King Kii Na, 1 the ninth King of Chiengmai, died about 
1387, and was succeeded by his son, Sen Miiang Ma, 
a lad of fourteen. He had an uncle, Prince P'rohm, 
Governor of Chiengrai, who, needless to say, at once 
attempted to seize the throne. Failing in his attempt, he 
applied for the aid of King Boromoraja. The latter 
was only too pleased to grasp this opportunity of extending 
his power ; he therefore espoused the cause of Prince 
P'rohm and despatched a Siamese army to attack 

The young Lao King had made full preparations, and 
had a large force waiting for the Siamese. A strenuous 
battle was fought at the village of Sen Sanuk, near 
Chiengmai, in which the Siamese were worsted. The 
Siamese army then retired through Miiang Li. 

In this battle a Chiengmai Princess, Nang Mtlang, 
distinguished herself by taking an active part in the 
fighting, wearing a man's clothes and riding an elephant. 
She was at that time well advanced in pregnancy, and 
shortly after the battle gave birth to a son, who was 
called Chao Kla Te T'ong (Prince Brave-from-the- 

This first invasion of Chiengmai was not a very 
successful one. Prince P'rohm relinquished his hopes 
of mounting the throne of Chiengmai, and became 
reconciled to the young King, his nephew, to whom 
he presented a very sacred image of Buddha, known 
as the P'rasingh or P'rasihing, which he had 

1 This ruler built the beautiful Wat Sut'ep temple on the Doi Sut'ep mountain 
near Chiengmai. 


compelled the Governor of Kamp'engp'et to deliver 
up to him. 1 

This image-stealing expedition of Prince P'rohm's 
to Kamp'engp'et had serious consequences for King 
Boromoraja. The latter set out to assist the Governor 
of Kamp'engp'et against Prince P'rohm, but was taken 
ill on the way, and died before he could be brought back 
to Ayut'ia (1388). 

King Boromoraja I was a worthy successor to King 
Rama T'ibodi I, whose life-work he completed by the 
subjection of the Kingdom of Suk'ot'ai. 

King Boromoraja I was succeeded by his son, 
T'ong Lan, a boy of fifteen. The ex-King, Ramesuen, 
Governor of Lopburi, immediately proceeded to 
Ayut'ia, seized the young King, T'ong Lan, and 
caused him to be executed, after a reign of only seven 

The method presumably adopted in this case, as in 
later cases where it was thought necessary to get rid of 
a Royal personage, consisted in tying the victim in a 
velvet sack, and clubbing him to death with a club 
of sandal-wood. By this means, no menial hand was 
allowed to touch the Royal body. This mark of 
respect cannot, however, have afforded much comfort 
to the victim, 

I This image bad an eventful history. It was cast in Ceylon early in the 
Christian Era. King Ramk'amheng of Suk'ot'ai sent an envoy to Ceylon to 
ask for it. It was despatched by sea, was shipwrecked, but swam or floated 
ashore at Nak'on Srit'ammarat. It was taken to Jainat, whence it was removed 
to Ayut'ia by Boromoraja I, about 1378- In the same reign it was taken away, 
by means of a stratagem, by a son of the Governor of Kamp'engp'et, and remained 
in that town until 1388, when Prince P'rohm obtained it by force, and took it 
to Chiengmai. About 1548 it was removed to Luang P'rabang, together with 
the Emerald Buddha and other very sacred images, by King Jai Jett'a. In 
1556 it was sent back to Chiengmai. In 1662 King Narai took it to Ayut'ia. 
After the capture of Ayut'ia in 1767, the Burmese returned it to Chiengmai. 
The first King of the present dynasty caused it to be brought to Bangkok in 
1795, and it is still in the royal palace there. 

The P'rasingh now in Chiengmai is generally supposed to be a replica, cast 
about 1388. Some believe, however, that it is the original image, and that the 
one in Bangkok is the replica. 


Judged by modern standards, the murder of this boy 
King, and other similar deeds which deface the annals 
of the Kings of Ayut'ia, were cruel and atrocious crimes. 
It must be remembered, however, that the law of suc- 
cession in Siam was very vague, and it may have been 
thought better to sacrifice one life even a King's life 
rather than to run the risk of disturbances which might 
cause great bloodshed and throw the whole realm into 
confusion. In regard to this matter, moreover, the 
history of Siam has nothing to fear from comparison with 
that of neighbouring countries. As late as 1879, King 
Theebaw signalised his usurpation of the throne of 
Burma by the most brutal massacres of his many relatives. 
He murdered about as many Princes in a single day as 
were accounted for by all the Kings of Siam put 

King Ramesuen thus resumed the throne, to which he 
was without doubt entitled, as being the son of the founder 
of Ayut'ia. 

About two years after King Ramesuen 's second ac- 
cession, the young King of Chiengmai, Sen Miiang Ma, 
came down at the head of an army to assist the vassal 
King of Suk'ot'ai to throw off his allegiance. According 
to the Chiengmai chronicle, King T'ammaraja requested 
the aid of the King of Chiengmai ; but this would appear 
to have been merely a ruse, for the Chiengmai army was 
suddenly attacked by night by the Suk'ot'ai forces, and 
dispersed with great loss. The young King of Chiengmai 
himself only just managed to escape through the faith- 
fulness of two of his servants, who carried him on their 
backs, turn and turn about. As a reward, titles and land 
were conferred upon them, and they signalised their rise 
to greatness by setting up two figures of white elephants 
outside one of the gates of Chiengmai ; these can be seen 


there to the present day, though doubtless often since 
restored. 1 This reverse kept Chiengmai quiet for the 
rest of the reign of King Ramesuen. 1 

In 1393, war broke out with Cambodia.* The King 
of Cambodia, Kodom Bong, was the aggressor. He 
suddenly invaded the Jonburi and Chantabun districts, 
and removed 6,000 or 7,000 of the population back to 

King Ramesuen took prompt and forcible action. He 
at once assembled an army and invaded Cambodia. 
The Cambodian forces were utterly routed and the 
Siamese advanced to the capital, Angkor T'om. The 
King of Cambodia escaped by boat and his final fate is 
not recorded. The Crown Prince was captured, and a 
grandson of King Kodom Bong, named Sri Suriyo 
P'awong, was set up as a vassal King, under the 
tutelage of the Siamese General, P'ya Jai Narong, 
who remained in Cambodia with a garrison of five 
thousand men. 

No less than 90,000 Cambodians were taken away as 
prisoners to Siam. 

1 According to some authorities, however, these elephants are of much more 
modern origin, having been set up by Pnnce Kawila in 1780. 

*The P'ongsawadan, except the earliest version (Luang Prasoet's history), 
gives a detailed account of an invasion of Chiengmai by King Ramesuen. The 
wall of Chiengmai was battered down by a big cannon. The King of Chiengmai 
demanded a truce, which he treacherously made use of to repair the damage. 
The city was then taken by force, and a son of the King, named Nak Srang, 
was set up in his place. A large number of prisoners were taken. 

It seems impossible that these events can really have taken place. King 
Sen Muang Ma of Chiengmai succeeded to the throne during the reign of King 
Boromoraja I of'Siam. He was not set up by the Siamese, who, on the contrary, 
supported a rival claimant, Prince P'rohm. The date of King Sen Muang Ma's 
death is variously given, but the earliest possible date was six years after the death 
of King Ramesuen. The next King of Chiengmai, Fang Ken, was likewise not 
set up by the Siamese, who again supported a rival candidate. 

The literary style in which this alleged invasion of Chiengmai is related is 
quite out of keeping with that used in describing other events of the period. 
The story is an interpolation. It is probably a description of some quite different 
war at a much later date. The name Nak Srang is rather suggestive of Cambodia. 

* Cambodian war. According to Cambodian history, this invasion took place 
in A.D. 1357, during the reign of Rama T'ibodi I. It is inserted here on the 
authority of Prince Damrong. 


Firearms are stated to have been used in this war. 1 

A great procession was held at Ayut'ia in honour of 
these victories, and suitable rewards and promotions 
were awarded to the successful leaders. 

Cambodia did not recover from this blow for some time. 
She remained quiet for almost fifty years. 

King Ramesuen died in 1395, having reigned, since 
his second accession, for seven years. He was about 
sixty-two years of age at the time of his death. He had 
shown himself, when young, an incompetent General, and 
it is probable that his later victories were the work of 
P'ya Jai Narong. The murder of his nephew, King 
T'ong Lan, is a blot on his memory ; even if such an act 
could be justified on grounds of policy, King Ramesuen 
might well have remembered how much more nobly 
King Boromoraja I had acted towards himself on his 
abdication, and spared the son out of gratitude to the 

A phantom King, Ram Raja, the son of King Ramesuen, 
now succeeded to the throne. He reigned for fourteen 
years, during which time nothing whatever is recorded as 
having occurred. 

In 1408 King Ram Raja quarrelled with his principal 
Minister, whose arrest he ordered. The Minister fled 
to Sup'an, and appealed for assistance to Prince Nak'on 
In, the Governor of that town, a nephew of King Boro- 
moraja I. The Prince proceeded to* Ayut'ia, seized 
King Ram Raja, and forced him to abdicate. He then 
proclaimed himself King, with the title of King Int'araja I. 

1 It has been suggested that firearms cannot have been 
this time. Chiengmai history first mentions firearms as havin 
siege of P'ayao in 1411. Burmese history tells us that c 
siege of Martaban in 1354. In Chinese history a weapon, 
a cannon, is said to have been used at the siege of Yuent 

Cannon were used by the English at the siege of C 
been known in Europe for several years previously. 

The author does not regard it as impossible that c 
used in Siam in 1390. 


King Ram Raja was treated as a harmless nonentity, 
and was permitted to live in retirement until his death. 

King Int'araja I was the son of one of the younger 
brothers of King Boromoraja I, and had succeeded his 
father as Governor of Sup'an. 

On attaining the throne, the new King overwhelmed 
with honours the Minister whose action had brought 
about his elevation. He gave him one of his daughters 
in marriage, and invested him with *all kinds of gold 
ornaments and insignia of rank. 

In 141 1 King Sen MUang Ma of Chiengmai died. His 
two sons, Prince Yi Kumkam and Prince Fang Ken, 
fought for the succession, and the unsuccessful candidate, 
in this case Prince Yi Kumkam, appealed to Siam for 
aid. An army, commanded by the vassal King T'am- 
maraja III of Suk'ot'ai, was despatched to Chiengmai 
to place Prince Yi Kumkam on the throne. 

The Siamese first invested P'ayao, but failed to take it. 
This attack on P'ayao is interesting, as affording the first 
mention in the Chiengmai annals of the use of cannon. 
It is said that the Siamese erected a mound twenty-four 
yards high in order to shoot into the city. The people 
of P'ayao therefore melted down the brass tiles on one of 
their temples and made a five-inch cannon, wherewith 
they destroyed the Siamese fort. 

The Siamese abandoned the siege of P'ayao and went 
on to Chiengrai. After resting there for some time, they 
advanced on Chiengmai. The siege of Chiengmai lasted 
for some time. Finally the young King of Chiengmai 
suggested that the matter in dispute should be submitted 
to trial by single combat. Each side was to choose a 
champion ; if the Siamese champion won, King Fang 
Ken would abdicate in favour of his brother ; if the Lao 
champion were the victor, Prince Yi Kumkam would 


abandon his claim. These terms were accepted, and the 
two champions were chosen. They fought for several 
hours without result, but at last the Siamese champion 
received a scratch on his big toe, and was adjudged the 

This siege was also memorable owing to the pluck of a 
young lad named P'etyot. He collected a band of two 
hundred boys and youths on the Doi Sut'ep mountain 
and continually harassed the Siamese army. After the 
siege, the King of Chiengmai was so delighted with 
P'etyot, that he appointed him to be P'ya Dekjai (Lord 
Little-Boy) a title which survives in Chiengmai even to 
the present time. 

The Siamese army retreated ; it can, however, hardly 
be said that the spirit of the compact made with the Laos 
was observed, for it retreated northwards, and attacked 
the town of Chiengrai, which was captured. A large 
number of prisoners were taken back to Ayut'ia. 

In the year 1410 the vassal King of Suk'ot'ai died. 
His death was followed by serious disturbances, caused 
by the claims of two Princes, Ban Miiang and Rama, to 
the right of succession. 1 King Int'araja, at the head of his 
army, advanced to Nak'onsawan ; the show of force 
was sufficient, and the differences between the two Princes 
were composed. It is not known which of them was 
appointed King, or Governor, of Suk'ot'ai. 

King Int'araja, as we have seen, had visited China 
before he became King, and during his whole reign he 
maintained friendly intercourse with the Emperor 
Yonglo (third of the Ming dynasty). Several embassies 
were sent to China, and several Chinese envoys visited 
Ayut'ia during this reign. 

1 Tammaraja II of Suk'ot'ai had died about 1409. This was Tammaraja III, 
a youthful King. The two Princes who claimed the throne were probably his 
brothers. See chapter iii. 


King Int'araja had three sons, named according to the 
numerical system already referred to. We might call 
them Princes Primus, Secundus and Tertius. On their 
father's death, in 1424, the two elder sons proceeded to 
fight for the throne. They and their adherents met on a 
bridge in the city of Ayut'ia, and the two Princes, mounted 
on elephants, engaged in personal combat. The result 
was that both of them were thrown from their 
elephants and killed. The youngest brother was then 
proclaimed King without opposition, under the title of 
Boromoraja II (1424). 



KING BOROMORAJA II, whose accession to the throne of 
Siam was due to such an extraordinary event, proved to 
be a warlike and capable monarch. 

In 14$* war broke out with Cambodia. The Siamese 
invaded that Kingdom and invested the capital, which 
was taken after a siege of seven months. The King of 
Cambodia, T'ammasok, died during the siege, and the 
King of Siam set up his own son, the Prince of Int'aburi, 
as King of Cambodia. 

After the retirement of the Siamese army, the Prince 
of Int'aburi died according to Cambodian history he 
was murdered and a Cambodian Prince was appointed 
King, with the title of Boromoraja T'irat Rama T'ibodi, 
apparently without opposition on the part of the Siamese. 
This King of Cambodia moved the capital to Phnom Penh. 1 

King Boromoraja II brought back from Cambodia, 
after the invasion, a quantity of bronze images of animals, 
including one of a sacred cow, which may still be seen at 
P'rabat. He also captured a vast number of prisoners. 

In 1438 Prince Ramesuen, eldest son of King Boro- 
moraja II, was appointed Governor of P'itsanulok ; this 

1 Visitors to Angkor Wat and Angkor Tom sometimes wonder why the ancient 
Cambodian capital was abandoned. The reason is simple. It was dangerously 
near the Siamese frontier. Phnom Penh was not the capital of Cambodia for 
long, being superseded by Lowek. In the nineteenth century Phnom Penh 
again became the capital, and remains so till the present time. 

Fs 81 


Rama T'ibodi I, which had been kept embalmed, and 
built a Pagoda 1 to enshrine the ashes of that monarch, 
as well as a temple to mark the site of the cremation. 

Until the time of King Trailok, the different provinces 
of the Kingdom, whether presided over by Princes or 
by officials of lower rank, had been governed more or 
less like small independent States, levying their armies, 
controlling their own finances, and managing their own 
internal affairs. King Trailok made the first attempt 
at centralisation. At the same time he brought about 
a separation between the civil and the military adminis- 
tration, which had previously been closely interwoven. 
He raised the rank of the principal officials at Ayut'ia, 
and placed them in charge of different Departments 
for the control of the affairs of the whole Kingdom. 

For the civil administration, five Departments were 
instituted, namely : (i) the Ministry of the Interior, 
under an official who held the rank of Prime Minister ; 
(2) the Ministry of Local Government, which was in 
charge of the affairs of the Province of Ayut'ia ; (3) 
the Ministry of Finance ; (4) the Ministry of Agriculture, 
in charge of cultivation, food supplies, and matters 
connected with the tenure of land ; and (5) the Ministry 
of the Royal Household, in charge of Palace affairs 
and the administration of Justice. 

For the military administration, a separate Prime 
Minister, the Kalahom, was set up, with several officials 
under him, ranking as Ministers, and in charge of different 
military Departments. Most of the titles of these 
military officials are still in use to-day, e.g. P'ya Sriharat 
Dejo, P'ya Ramk'amheng, etc. 

1 A separate pagoda was built in the Royal Palace Temple at Ayut'ia to 
enshrine the ashes of each of the earlier Kings. Later on, the space available 
being insufficient, a pagoda containing a number of niches was erected, to contain 
the remains of a urge number of Kings. This pagoda may still be seen at Ayut'ia. 


Another very important measure which Siam owes 
to King Trailok may conveniently be mentioned here, 
though not brought into force until 1454. This was the 
law regulating Sakdi Na grade. As mentioned in 
chapter i,, the Tai, even in the most ancient times, 
possessed a system whereby every man was allowed 
to hold a certain amount of land, regulated in accordance 
with his position. King Trailok laid down definite 
rules on this subject. Every Prince, official, and private 
person, had a certain amount of land allotted to him. 
For instance, the Chao P'y as > or P'yas holding important 
posts, were allowed to hold from 1,000 to 4,000 acres. 
Subordinate officials, such as K'uns and Luangs, held 
from 1 60 acres upwards. Common people held 10 acres. 

This system not only definitely fixed the relative rank 
of every man in the Kingdom, but it actually placed 
a value upon him. He was literally " worth " so and 
so much. If he had to be fined for any offence, the 
fine was graded according to his Sakdi Na, and if com- 
pensation had to be paid for his death or for any injury, 
this was likewise computed on the same scale. 

So far as officials are concerned, the Sakdi Na repre- 
sented their pay. They were expected to live on the 
produce of their land, and therefore received no salaries. 

Since the time of King Chulalongkorn, all officials 
have been paid salaries in cash and are not, therefore, 
given any land. Nevertheless, they still receive a nominal 
rank based on an assumed grant of land. The system 
of King Trailok thus survives to the present day, in 
theory if not in practice. 

King Trailok was also responsible for another remark- 
able piece of legislation, namely the Palace Law 1 (Kot 

1 It is probable that this law is really a compilation of regulations dating 
from much more ancient times. In its original form, it was divided into three 
parts : (a) Ceremonies ; (b) Functions of officials ; (c) Punishments. 


Mont'ien Ban) promulgated in 1450. This law is still 
nominally in force at the present day. It commences 
by enumerating the neighbouring States which sent 
tribute to Ayut'ia, in the form of gold and silver trees. 
Students of the history of this period will be surprised 
to find that Hsenwi, Kengtung, Chiengmai and Taungu 
were claimed as tributary States, 

The relative rank of different classes of Queens and 
Princes is regulated by this law ; the office of Maha 
Uparat, referred to later in this chapter, is mentioned 
as being confined to a son of the Chief Queen. All 
kinds of palace ceremonials are dealt with, and the 
proper programmes for observance on various feast 
days and holidays are laid down. 

Severe punishments are provided for all kinds of 
offences against the Palace Law ; these include : 

For immoral intercourse with a lady of the Palace : 
the man to be tortured for three days and then killed : 
the woman to be killed. 

For introducing amatory poems into the palace: death. 

For shaking the King's boat : death. 

For a palace official who permits stray animals to 
come to the palace : death. The sentry on duty at the 
time to have his eyes put out. 

For kicking the door of the palace : the offender's 
foot to be cut off. 

For striking the King's elephants or horses : the 
hand to be cut off. 

For abusing them : the mouth of the offender to 
be cut. 

For whispering during a Royal audience : death. 

For other minor offences severe flogging was inflicted. 

This law also provides for the punishment of Royal 
culprits. Princes of high rank were shackled with gold 


fetters ; those of lesser rank wore silver fetters. The 
procedure to be followed when a Prince was beaten to 
death with a sandalwood club is likewise carefully set 

King Trailok had not been long upon the throne 
before he was involved in a war with Chiengmai, which 
lasted, with intervals, throughout his whole reign. 

The cause of this war was probably the dissatisfaction 
felt by some of the inhabitants of the former Kingdom 
of Suk'ot'ai at the abolition of the authority of their 
own Royal Family, which had taken place in the preceding 
reign. In 1451 P'ya Yut'it T'ira, the Governor of 
Sawank'alok, 1 determined to revolt against the King 
of Siam, and secretly applied to Maharaja Tilok of 
Chiengmai for assistance, offering to become tributary 
to him. The Maharaja at once seized this chance of 
dealing a blow at Siam, and despatched an army to the 
south. The Lao army attacked Suk'ot'ai, but was 
repulsed with great loss. In a later engagement they 
were more successful, but the King of Luang P'rabang, 
who was at that time on very bad terms with Maharaja 
Tilok, seized the opportunity of invading the Chiengmai 
dominions. The news of the incursion caused the Lao 
army to retire. 

A second Chiengmai army had been sent to Kam- 
p'engp'et. That city was captured and was annexed for 
a time to the Chiengmai dominions. 

During the next few years hostilities between Ayut'ia 

1 and Chiengmai were perforce suspended. The Maharaja 

had his hands full with the Luang P'rabang war, and the 

King of Siam was likewise occupied with other matters, 

1 P'ya Jalieng. There has been much discussion as to the identity of the 
ancient town called Jalieng. It is, however, impossible to study the histories 
of Siam and of Chiengmai at all carefully without coming to the conclusion that 
Jalieng was identical with Sawauk'alok. 


In 1454 his Kingdom was ravaged by a terrible outbreak 
of smallpox, and in 1455 a military expedition was made 
to Malacca. 

As already mentioned, Malacca had been subject to 
Siam since the time of King Ramk'amheng. It may be 
assumed, however, that Siamese control was of a more 
or less shadowy nature. The Malays were originally 
Buddhists, but Mohammedanism was introduced before 
the tenth century, and by the time of King Trailok 
it was the prevailing religion at Malacca. It is possible 
that the people of Malacca were encouraged to rebel 
by their Arab co-religionists, who had started to form 
settlements in the Peninsula. The town was captured, 
but subsequent events go to show that Siamese control 
was not effective for long, 

In 1460 the Governor of Sawank'alok's treachery 
became known, and he therefore fled to Chiengmai, 
and was appointed by Maharaja Tilok to be Governor 
of P'ayao. Encouraged by him, in the following year 
(1461), a Lao army was sent by the Maharaja to invade 
Siamese territory. They captured Suk'ot'ai and invested 
P'itsanulok. News of an invasion of Yunnanese from 
the north caused them to retire, but Suk'ot'ai remained 
in the hands of the Maharaja until the year 1462, when 
it was retaken. Sawank'alok became for a time part of 
the Chiengmai dominions. 

As a result of these constant incursions from Chieng- 
mai, King Trailok determined to establish his capital 
at P'itsanulok. He therefore appointed his elder son, 
Prince Boromoraja, to be Governor or Regent of Ayut'ia, 
and proceeded in 1463 to P'itsanulok, accompanied by 
his younger son, Prince Int'araja. P'itsanulok remained 
the capital of Siam for about twenty-five years. 

Maharaja Tilok, far from being overawed by this step, 


at once invaded Siam, and attacked Suk'ot'ai for the 
third time. He was repulsed with great loss and was 
pursued by the Siamese, led by the King and Prince 
Int'araja, far into the interior of his own territory. The 
Siamese advance guard caught up the Chiengmai army 
near Doi Ba, that rocky hill so well remembered by 
visitors to Chiengmai before the completion of the 
railway. There a fierce battle was fought by moonlight, 
in which the young Prince Int'araja, then aged about 
fifteen, showed great courage. Riding on an elephant, 
and accompanied by the Governors of Kamp'engp'et 
and Suk'ot'ai, also on elephants, he attacked four elephants 
ridden by the ex-Governor of Sawank'alok and three 
noted Chiengmai warriors. He and his companions 
were driven down, on their elephants, into a swamp, 
and the Prince received a bullet wound in the cheek. 
The Prince and his troops were finally forced to retreat 
and rejoin the main army of King Trailok. Prince 
Int'araja presumably died from the effects of his wound, 
as his name appears no more in history after this time. l 

Neither side had as yet been entirely successful. 
The Siamese retreated, and for a few years peace was 

About this time, the turncoat Governor of Sawank'alok 
made preparations to rejoin the Siamese side. A great 
part of the city of Sawank'alok was burnt down by the 
Laos in consequence, and the Governor was seized 
and exiled to a distant part of the Chiengmai dominions. 
The Maharaja's uncle, Mttn Dong Nak'on, the Governor 
of Chiengjun, 1 was placed in charge of Sawank'alok. 

In 1465 King Trailok entered a Buddhist monastery 

1 The Chiengmai history gives the date of this battle as 1457. At that time 
Prince Int'araja could not have been more than ten years old. The correct date 
appears to be as given here. 

Probably a city which stood near the present village of MUang Long, in 
Larap'ang Province. 


as a priest. He was doubtless inspired to take this 
step not only by his own inclinations, which had always 
been religious, but also by the example previously set 
by King T'ammaraja Lttt'ai of Suk'ot'ai. For a crowned 
head to receive the tonsure of a priest was a rare event, 
and created some stir in the Buddhist world. Neigh- 
bouring potentates sent envoys to attend the ordination 
ceremony. The Maharaja of Chiengmai despatched an 
Ambassador to P'itsanulok, accompanied by twelve 
priests of great sanctity. They were very well received 
by King Trailok, and assisted at his ordination, which 
took place at Wat Chulamani at P'itsanulok. 

This rapprochement was, however, only apparent. 
King Trailok demanded the surrender of Sawank'alok. 
This was refused, and on the completion of the Siamese 
monarch's term in the priesthood, which lasted for eight 
months, both sides again prepared for war. 

The Maharaja's uncle, Mtin Dong Nak'on, collected 
an army on the frontier, with the intention of invading 
Siam whenever a suitable opportunity arose. King 
Trailok, on the other hand, following the superstitious 
customs of that age, determined to employ occult means 
for the purpose of weakening his adversary. 

In 1467 a Burmese priest was sent by the Siamese 
King to Chiengmai. This man, by his apparent sanctity 
and learning, managed to ingratiate himself with Maharaja 
Tilok, and found occasion to urge him to build a new 
palace, overlooking the city wall of Chiengmai. In 
order to prepare the site, it was necessary to fell a certain 
sacred tree which had been planted by King Mengrai. 
The Maharaja, encouraged by the priest, caused this 
tree to be felled. A series of frightful misfortunes then 
befell him. One of his wives accused his eldest son, 
Prince Bun Riiang, of rebellious designs. The young 


Prince was executed. Later, a faithful official was 
similarly accused and was punished by death. 

In 1468 a Siamese embassy visited Chiengmai. The 
chief envoy was a Brahmin. Some of the actions of 
this person excited suspicion ; he and his party were 
arrested, and, on being flogged, confessed that they had 
buried in various parts of the city seven jars containing 
magic ingredients. They also divulged the fact that the 
Burmese priest who had advised the cutting down of the 
sacred tree was a Siamese spy. 

Maharaja Tilok thus found, when too late, that he had 
caused his son and his faithful servant to be executed 
on false charges. This he ascribed to the felling of the 
sacred tree. To his grief was added terror, on the 
discovery of the seven jars full of magic herbs and 
talismans. These were burnt, ground to powder, and 
the powder cast into the river. The Burmese priest 
and the Brahmin followed them, with stones tied to 
their feet. The other envoys were dismissed, but had 
not gone far when they were set upon by troops 
despatched ahead for the purpose, and massacred 
to a man. 

They had drastic methods in those days for dealing 
with foreign representatives who abused their privileges. 

In 1471 a female white elephant was captured in 
Siam. This appears to have been the first white elephant 
owned by a King of Siam since the foundation of Ayut'ia, 
though, as has been seen, the Kings of Suk'ot'ai had 
possessed some of these animals. 

In 1472 a third son was born to King Trailok, He 
was named Prince Jett'a, and later became King Rama 
T'ibodi II. 

In 1474 war broke out once more with Chiengmai. 
Mun Dong Nak'on, the Maharaja's uncle, died about 


this time, and a new Governor was appointed to Chieng- 
jfin. The Siamese suddenly invaded Chiengmai territory, 
captured Chiengjun, and killed the Governor, At 
the same time, Sawank'alok was taken. Maharaja Tilok 
succeeded in recapturing Chiengjiin, but Sawank'alok 
remained in the hands of the Siamese. 

The result of a war which had lasted, off and on, for 
twenty-three years, was that both parties found themselves 
in exactly the same position as they were in when 
hostilities first started. In 1474 the old Maharaja, tired 
of the purposeless struggle, made overtures for peace. 
Nothing definite appears to have been settled, but open 
hostilities ceased for several years. 

In 1484 King Trailok's youngest son, Prince Jett'a, 
together with the eldest son of Prince Boromoraja, 
became Buddhist priests. They left the priesthood in 
the following years and Prince Jett'a was then appointed 
Maha Uparat. 

This is the first time that the office of Maha Uparat is 
specifically mentioned in Siamese history, though there 
is every reason to suppose that it had been customary 
to confer the title upon one of the sons or brothers of 
the reigning monarch. 1 The title, meaning literally 
" Second King " or " Vice King," originated in India, 
and became common among all the Indo-Chinese 
nations, including the Burmese. The Uparat held a 
position higher than any other Prince, and was invested 
with some of the appurtenances of kingship. Among 
the Siamese and Burmese, the Uparat was usually the 
eldest son of the King and Queen, but many Kings 
appointed their brothers or other relations to the post, 
more especially in cases where their own sons were 

1 In the Sakdi Na Law (1454) the office of Maha Uparat is referred to. The 
Maha Uparat held 40,000 acres of landten times as much as the highest officials. 


either very young or were not born of mothers of high 
rank. Among the Laos, it was, and is (for the title is 
still in use in northern Siam), unusual to appoint a son 
of the reigning King or Prince to be Uparat. The 
choice almost invariably fell on a brother. 1 

The Maha Uparat was, in fact, the Crown Prince. 

It is not clear why King Trailok appointed Prince 
Jett'a, his younger son, to be Maha Uparat, but it seems 
probable that he intended Prince Boromoraja, who was 
already Regent of Ayut'ia, to become King there, and 
that Prince Jett'a was Uparat for the northern dominion 
of P'itsanulok only. If this was King Trailok's plan, 
namely to dismember his Kingdom, it was a very unwise 
one. Fortunately, it was not carried into effect after 
his death. 

In 1486 war broke out once more with Chiengmai. 
This was due to Maharaja Tilok's action in having all 
the members of a Siamese embassy massacred. He 
probably remembered the incident of the magic pots, 
and was very suspicious of visitors from the south. 

The Siamese invaded Chiengmai territory, but no 
important engagements took place, and in the following 
year (1487) Maharaja Tilok died. He was seventy-eight 
years of age, and had reigned for forty-four years. He 
was in every way a most remarkable man. A bad son, 
a harsh and unnatural father, a tyrant to his people, 
and a relentless foe to the Siamese, he yet appears to 
have been a man of strong religious principles. A 
Buddhist Council was held at Chiengmai in his reign, 
and he did much in every way to foster religion. It 
was during his tenure of power that the famous emerald 

1 Several European writers, e.g. van Vliet, have asserted that the legal heir to 
the throne of Siam was always a brother of the King. This is a mistake, caused 
by the fact that the Uparat living at the time when the statement was made 
happened to be a brother of the reigning King. 


Buddha, now to be seen in the Royal Palace at Bangkok, 
was brought to Chiengmai. According to the most 
probable account, this truly remarkable image was 
discovered at Chiengrai in 1436, in the interior of a 
pagoda which had been struck by lightning. It was 
taken to Nak'on Lamp'ang, and thirty-two years later 
(1468) was removed to Chiengmai. In 1470 it was 
placed by Maharaja Tilok in a temple specially erected 
for its reception. 1 

In 1488 Prince Boromoraja captured Tavoy, 1 which 
became a bone of contention between Burma and Siam 
for hundreds of years. 

King Trailok did not long survive his ancient foe, 
Maharaja Tilok. He died at P'itsanulok in 1488, aged 
fifty-seven, after a reign of forty years. 1 He appears to 
have been a very capable and politic ruler. His natural 
religious feelings doubtless made him averse to warfare, 
but the restless ambition of Maharaja Tilok forced him 
to spend most of his reign in fighting against Chiengmai. 

Many of the actions of King Trailok were influenced 
by an evident desire to imitate King Ramk'amheng of 
Suk'ot'ai. One of his wives, the mother of King Rama 
T'ibodi II, was a Princess of the Royal Family of 

1 King Jai Jett'a removed this image from Chiengmai to Luang P'rabang 
in 1547. It was taken to Wiengchan, where it remained till 1779, when Chao 
Pya Chakn (Rama I) removed it to Bangkok. 

8 It is not certain whether Tavoy was at this time an independent principality, 
or was subject to Siam, and had rebelled. There is no reason to suppose that it 
belonged to Burma. 

* According to some versions of Siamese history, King Trailokanat died in the 
year when he left the priesthood (correct date 1465) and was surceudtd by his 
son Int'araja, who reigned for 22 years, and was in turn succeeded by his son 

ot brother) Rama T'ibodi II. The best authenticated account is that given 
ere and in the next chapter. 



KING TRAILOK was succeeded by his elder son, who is 
known as King Boromoraja III. He was already Regent 
of Ayut'ia, and on his accession P'itsanulok ceased 
to be the capital. Prince Jett'a, the Maha Uparat, 
remained at P'itsanulok as Viceroy or Governor. 

King Boromoraja died in 1491, at the age of about 45, 
and was succeeded by his brother, Prince Jett'a, who 
assumed the style of King Rama T'ibodi II. He was 
descended, through his mother, from the Royal Family 
of Suk'ot'ai. 

This King was born in 1472, and was therefore only 
nineteen years of age when he ascended the throne. 
His first act was to cremate the remains of his father and 
elder brother and to erect pagodas for the reception of 
their ashes. These pagodas may still be seen in Wat 
Srisarap'et at Ayut'ia. 

In 1492 trouble again arose with Chiengmai. A 
Siamese Prince, named Suriwong, went to Chiengmai 
and became a priest there. He managed to obtain 
possession of a very sacred image of Buddha, made of 
white crystal. This was an image which had been 
taken from Lamp'un by King Mengrai in 1281. Legend 
asserted that it had belonged to Cham T'ewi, a mythical 
Queen of Lamp'un, supposed to have lived in the 
seventh century A.D. Prince Suriwong smuggled this 



image away to Ayut'ia. The Maharaja of Chiengmai, 
P'ra Yot, the grandson and successor of Maharaja Tilok, 
demanded its return. Meeting with an evasive answer, 
he invaded Siam and compelled King Rama T'ibodi to 
deliver up the Buddha. 1 

In 1499 King Rama T'ibodi gave orders for a gigantic 
image of Buddha to be cast, and erected in Wat 
Srisarap'et. This image represented Buddha in an erect 
attitude. It was 48 feet high, and the pedestal was 24 
feet in length. It was covered with gold plates weighing 
in all nearly 800 lb., and took more than three years to 
complete. This was the largest standing image of 
Buddha recorded as having ever existed in the world. 
It was destroyed by the Burmese in 1767. The first 
King of the present dynasty had the broken pieces 
brought to Bangkok in the hope of joining them together ; 
this was found impossible, so they were buried under 
the pagoda named Jedi Srisarap'etchadayan, in Wat 
Jetup'on at Bangkok. 

In 1507 war broke out anew with Chiengmai. 
Maharaja Yot had been deposed in 1495, on account of 
his reign " bringing ill luck upon his country." This 
was due to his having been crowned on a Monday, 
which was an unpropitious day. He was succeeded 
by his son, known as Maharaja Ratana. This ruler 
attacked Suk'ot'ai in 1507. A very sanguinary battle 
was fought, in which the Laos were worsted and driven 
back. In 1508 the Siamese retaliated by invading 
Chiengmai territory. P're was captured, but after a 
fierce battle the Siamese were forced to retreat ; in 1510 
another Siamese invasion was attended with similar 

1 Siamese history makes no mention of this invasion. It may be regarded as 
very doubtful that a Laotian army ever reached Ayut'ia. 


King Rama T'ibodi II was the first King of Siam 
who is known to have received European envoys and 
to have concluded treaties with a European power. 

In 1497 Vasco da Gama made his celebrated voyage 
to India round the Cape of Good Hope. In the succeed- 
ing years the Portuguese, with most extraordinary 
rapidity, obtained possession of large tracts of terri- 
tory in India, and by 1508 they already began to 
turn their eyes farther east. In that year four Portuguese 
vessels, under the command of Lopes de Sequiera, 
arrived at Malacca. The town was then governed by 
a Malay Sultan, nominally a vassal of Siam, but in 
reality independent. Sequiera entered into negotiations 
with a view to opening up trade relations ; a dispute 
ensued ; Sequiera arrested certain Malays who were 
on board his ships ; the Sultan retaliated by killing 
some of the Portuguese on shore, and imprisoning 
others. Sequiera, having too weak a force to attack 
Malacca, retired, and reported the matter to Affonso 
d'Albuquerque, the famous Viceroy of Portuguese 

In June 1509 Albuquerque arrived, with a considerable 
force, off Malacca. After fruitless negotiations for the 
surrender of the Portuguese prisoners, Malacca was 
attacked and captured. The Malay population fled, 
and the Portuguese returned to their ships. 

Albuquerque, having learnt that the Siamese claimed 
some rights over Malacca, determined to send an envoy 
to Ayut'ia to explain matters. Taking advantage of 
the presence of some Chinese junks which were 
about to leave for Ayut'ia, he sent one Duarte 
Fernandez, with a letter addressed to the King of 

In September 1509 a fresh attack on Malacca became 


necessary. The city was subdued and became a 
Portuguese possession. 

Fernandez arrived at Ayut'ia in 1511. He was well 
received, and returned accompanied by a Siamese 
Ambassador. No objection appears to have been raised 
to the occupation of Malacca. It may probably have 
been thought better to forego the somewhat shadowy 
claims of Siam in the Peninsula, rather than become 
involved in disputes with the Portuguese, which would 
hamper the Kingdom in defending the northern frontier 
against the continual aggressions of the Maharaja of 

A second Portuguese envoy, Miranda de Azevedo, 
visited Ayut'ia, by the overland route, about 1512, 
and in 1516 a third envoy from Albuquerque, named 
Duarte de Coelho, proceeded to Ayut'ia and concluded 
a fresh treaty with Siam. 

The final result of these treaties was that the 
Portuguese were permitted to reside and carry on trade 
at Ayut'ia, Tenasserim, Mergui, Patani and Nak'on 

The broad-minded policy of King Rama T'ibodi II 
with regard to foreign traders has been emulated by 
every King of Siam since his time. 

King Rama T'ibodi II also set a noble example in 
regard to another matter, namely religious toleration. 
He permitted Coelho to erect a wooden crucifix in a 
prominent place in Ayut'ia. Not many European 
monarchs of that period possessed such a liberal mind. 
The whole history of Siam, in fact, is an object-lesson 
to Europeans in the matter of religious tolerance, and 
the Siamese may well be proud that their annals are not 
stained with the record of such atrocious crimes as were 
committed in every country of Europe in the name of 


Him who said : " This is My commandment, that 
ye love one another." 

While King Rama T'ibodi was engaged in these 
negotiations with the Portuguese, he was also occupied 
in fighting against Chiengmai, In 1513 a Chiengmai 
General, Mtln P'ing Yi, carried out a raid on Suk'ot'ai 
and Kamp'engp'et, capturing prisoners, elephants and 
other booty. In 1515 the operation was repeated. 
Suk'ot'ai and Kamp'engp'et were taken by the Laos. 
The King of Siam was, however, ready for them. Ac- 
companied by his sons, Prince Ek and Prince At'itya, 
he drove back the Northern invaders, and followed them 
with his victorious army as far as Na'kon Lamp'ang. 
A fierce battle was fought on the banks of the Me Wang 
River ; the Laos were defeated and Nak'on Lamp'ang 
was stormed by the Siamese. Together with other 
booty, a celebrated image of Buddha, carved out of black 
stone, was removed to Ayut'ia. 

This was the most serious blow which had been 
dealt to Chiengmai for many years. It may be, perhaps, 
that the advice and assistance of King Rama T'ibodi's 
Portuguese Allies had something to do with his rapid 
and striking successes. 

In 1518 King Rama T'ibodi undertook the reorganisa- 
tion of the system of military service. As has been seen 
(chapter i.), the ancient Tai people had a system of 
compulsory military service, which had been in force 
since the earliest times. This system was now remodelled. 
The whole Kingdom was divided up into Military 
Divisions and Sub-Divisions, and every man of eighteen 
years or more was enrolled, and was made liable to be 
called up when required. As may be supposed, a large 

1 The so-called persecution in the reign of King Fetraja (1688) was in reality 
B, political movement against the French. 


majority of those liable to military service were never 
called up, but were permitted to spend their lives in 
civil occupations. The principle of universal service 
was, however, recognised. The system of King Rama 
T'ibodi II remained in force, with modifications, until 
the year 1899, when a new law for compulsory military 
service, drawn up on European lines, was introduced. 

In 1518 a book on military tactics was issued. This 
work has long since been lost, and its exact nature is 
not now knbwn. 

In the year 1518 a canal, navigable for sea-going 
vessels, was dug, connecting the Samrong and Tapnang 
canals and debouching near the present town of Paknam. 

In 1524 some kind of conspiracy was discovered, 
resulting in the execution of several officials. In 1526 
there was a severe famine. In the same year Prince 
Noh P'utt'angkun, the King's eldest son, was 
appointed Maha Uparat, and sent north as Governor 
of P'itsanulok. 

In July 1529 King Rama T'ibodi II was suddenly 
taken ill, and died the same day, at the age of fifty- 
seven, after a reign of forty years. His was a note- 
worthy reign. Its chief features were : Striking successes 
against Chiengmai, the reorganisation of the Siamese 
army, and the opening up of relations with the Western 

The next King (named Noh P'utt'angKun) bore the 
title of Boromoraja IV. The only event known to have 
occurred in his reign was the despatch of envoys to 
negotiate a Treaty with Chiengmai. This King died of 
smallpox in 1534, leaving the throne to his son, Prince 
Ratsada, a child of five. 

Baby Kings did not reign for long in Ayut'ia. Five 
months after his accession, King Ratsada was made 


away with, and Prince P'rajai, a half-brother of King 
Boromoraja IV, reigned in his stead. 

Nothing is known of this King before his usurpation 
of the throne, but there is some reason to suppose that 
he was Governor of P'itsanulok. 

The first few years of this reign were peaceful ones. 
The King was busy carrying out a scheme for improving 
the navigation of the River Menam at Bangkok. Before 
his time the course of the river followed the canals 
which are now known as K'longs Bang Luang and 
Bangkok Noi. The present river from Ta T'ien to T'a 
Chang Wang Na was dry land. King P'rajai caused a 
channel to be dug across this neck of land, which in 
a few years became the main waterway. 

To this period (1536) belongs a curious piece of 
legislation, the Law for Trial by Ordeal. As is well 
known, trial by ordeal was common in Europe at that 
time ; nothing, indeed, is more natural and fitting to 
a simple-minded people, firmly imbued with faith in 
Divine justice, than to leave the decision of their disputes 
to the arbitration of some Being wiser and less fallible 
than a human judge. Unfortunately, experience has 
shown that Divine Beings cannot be relied upon to 
vindicate the principles of justice whenever called 
upon to do so ; this, however, is a comparatively new 
discovery ; in King P'rajai's time, and later, ordeal 
was a very popular form of trial. 

The Law for Trial by Ordeal provides for several 
kinds of ordeal. One method consisted in walking 
over red-hot charcoal ; the party whose feet were burnt 
was adjudged the loser. Another system was by diving 
under the water ; the man who stayed under the longer 
won the case. Sometimes the parties were made to 
swim a race across the river ; sometimes they lit candles 


of equal size, and the man whose candle went out first 
was the loser. The Law lays down most minute regula- 
tions as to the procedure to be followed for every kind 
of ordeal, and provides long prayers to be read out by 
the Clerk of the Court, begging for the intervention of 
the heavenly powers to secure justice. 

At the time of King P'rajai's accession the number of 
Portuguese in Siam had greatly increased, and in 1538 
the King engaged 120 of them to form a kind of body- 
guard and to instruct the Siamese in musketry. The 
reason for this step was the aggressive policy of the 
King of Taungu, who had seized various towns on the 
Siamese frontier. 

Burma was divided up, during the reign of King 
Boromaraja IV of Siam, into four Kingdoms, namely : 
(i) the remnants of the original Kingdom, with the 
capital at Ava ; (2) Prome ; (3) Pegu ; (4) Taungu. 
In 1530 the King of Taungu died, and was succeeded 
by his son, Tabeng Shwe T'i. This monarch was a man 
of insatiable ambition, and determined to subjugate 
the dominions of all his neighbours. In A.D. 1530 he 
conquered Prome and in 1534 he proceeded to attack 
Pegu. That country he finally subdued in 1540, in 
which year he established his capital at Hanthawadi. 

During his war against Pegu, Tabeng Shwe T'i came 
into conflict with the Siamese. He occupied a town 
referred to in Siamese history as Chiengkrai or Chieng- 
kran (now called Gyaing, in the Moulmein district), 
which was then subject to Siam. King P'rajai, at the 
head of a strong army, attacked the Burmese, utterly 
defeated them, and drove then out of his dominions. 
In this expedition he was assisted by his Portuguese 
mercenaries ; they did such good service that they were 
rewarded with various commercial and residential 


privileges. 1 It is interesting to note that the King of 
Burma likewise had a large number of Portuguese in 
his service. The Portuguese of that day, like true 
soldiers of fortune, were ready to fight for anybody 
against anybody. 

This success against Burma proved in the end to be 
a disaster for Siam. It was the original cause of the 
bitter enmity between the two countries which later led 
to long and sanguinary wars, bringing death, famine, 
and unspeakable misery to both countries. It is not too 
much to say that the evil results of the feud between 
Siam and Burma may be seen in both countries even at 
the present day. 

In 1545 King P'rajai was called upon to intervene 
in the affairs of Chiengmai. The history of the northern 
Kingdom for some years previous to this had been very 
troubled. In 1538 King Mtiang Kesa, the I5th King 
of Chiengmai, was deposed by his son, T'ai Sai K'am. 
The latter reigned until 1543, when a rebellion broke out, 
caused by his cruelty and misgovernment. He was 
killed, and King Miiang Kesa was restored. In 1545 
he became insane, and a conspiracy was hatched against 
him, headed by one Sen Dao. The King was murdered, 
and with him the direct male line of King Mengrai 
became extinct. Sen Dao offered the throne to the 
Prince of Kengtung, who refused it. It was then offered 
to Prince Mekut'i of Miiang Nai, a descendant of Prince 
K'rua, one of the sons of King Mengrai, the founder of 
Chiengmai. In the meantime, however, a party of 
nobles hostile to Sen Dao met at Chiengsen, and sent 
an envoy to ask the King of Luang P'rabang to accept 
the Chiengmai throne for his eldest son, Prince Jai 

1 The ruins of the houses and the church given by King P'rajai to the Portuguese 
can still be seen at Ayut'ia. 


Jett'a, whose mother was a Chiengmai Princess. The 
King of Luang P'rabang assented, with the probable 
intention of uniting Chiengmai to the Luang P'rabang 

At the same time, the Prince of Hsenwi sent an army 
to invade Chiengmai for the purpose of punishing Sen 
Dao for the murder of King Miiang Kesa. Failing to 
take the town of Chiengmai, Miin Hoa K'ien, the 
Hsenwi General, established himself at Lamp'un, and 
despatched messengers to ask for the aid of King 

King P'rajai at once prepared to invade Chiengmai 
territory ; before he had completed his preparations, 
however, the notables opposed to Sen Dao came down 
from Chiengsen, succeeded in entering the city of 
Chiengmai, and at once executed Sen Dao and all his 
chief adherents. They then set up a Princess, named 
Maha Tewi, as Regent of Chiengmai, pending the 
arrival of Prince Jai Jett'a from Luang P'rabang. 

King P'rajai arrived at Chiengmai in June A.D. 1545, 
only to find that the ostensible object of his expedition, 
namely to remove Sen Dao, no longer existed. The 
Princess Regent received the Siamese monarch in a 
friendly manner. He spent some time at Chiengmai, 
and enjoyed a few days rest at Wieng Chet Lin, near 
the present stone quarries. In September he returned 
to Ayut'ia. 

In the same year a terrible fire occurred at Ayut'ia. 
Many temples and public buildings were destroyed, 
together with 10,050 houses. Assuming that not more 
than one-third of the city was destroyed, and allowing 
five inmates to each house, we may conclude that Ayut'ia 
contained over 150,000 inhabitants. It was, therefore, 
a larger city than the London of that period. 


Hardly had King P'rajai returned back home when 
Prince Mekut'i of Mttang Nai, supported by the Prince 
of Yawnghwe, invaded Chiengmai territory. As we 
have seen, Prince Mekut'i was a candidate for the 
throne of Chiengmai, which was then being held by the 
party in power, on behalf of Prince Jai Jett'a of Luang 

The Muang Nai and Yawnghwe armies were driven 
out by the Princess Regent. Later, a Luang P'rabang 
force arrived to assist in holding the city for Prince 
Jai Jett'a. 

King P'rajai determined upon a second expedition 
to the north. 1 The Governor of P'itsanulok was sent 
ahead with a strong force. The advisers of the Princess 
Regent of Chiengmai hotly debated the question as to 
whether martial resistance should be made to the Siamese, 
or whether they should be received as allies. The 
Princess gave her casting vote in favour of the latter 
course. Envoys were sent out to receive the Governor 
of P'itsanulok, who pitched his camp near Lamp'un. 
At dead of night, however, the Siamese suddenly 
burst into Lamp'un, and burnt down a great part of 
the city. 

The next day King P'rajai arrived with his army, 
and the Siamese advanced to Chiengmai. The destruction 
of Lamp'un caused the Princess Regent of Chiengmai 
to determine on resistance. A fierce attack was made on 
the city, but after three days' fighting the Siamese 
failed to capture it. King P'rajai decided to retire, 
which he did, after destroying some temples and a large 
number of houses near Chiengmai. A Lao army pursued 
the Siamese and defeated them at Wat Chiengkrung 

1 It is probable that the Princess Regent had applied to King P'rajai for aid 
against Prince Mekut'i. 


(in the district now known as Sarap'i), five miles from 
Chiengmai, many prisoners being taken. 

The retreat continued through Mating Li. The Prince 
of Nan, YiMangkala, assisted by Chiengmai and Nak'on 
Lamp'ang troops, again attacked the retreating Siamese, 
defeating them with great loss. The Governors of 
Kamp'engp'et and P'ijai were killed in this battle. 
Farther south, another Lao army lay in ambush. The 
Siamese were once more attacked near the P'un Sam 
Miim l stream and were once more routed, this time 
with the loss of three Generals, 10,000 men, and 3,000 

After these serious disasters, King P'rajai returned 
to Ayut'ia. He had been in bad health for some months, 
and died about June 1846. Pinto states that he was 
poisoned by his wife, Princess Sri Suda Chan, and the 
subsequent actions of that infamous woman were such 
as to justify the accusation. 

King P'rajai obtained the throne by means which are 
repugnant to our moral sense. We must, however, 
refrain from applying to Siam in the sixteenth century 
the standards of Europe in our own time. If we believe 
Pinto, King P'rajai was a wise ruler, well beloved by his 
people and deeply mourned by them when he died. 
" This Prince lived in the reputation of being charitable 
to the poor, liberal in his benefits and recompenses, 
pitiful and gentle towards everyone, and above all 
incorrupt in doing of justice and chastening the wicked ; 
his subjects spoke so amply thereof in their lamentations, 
as if all that they said of it was true ; we are to believe 
that there never was a better King than he, either 
amongst these Pagans, or in all the countries of the 

1 Probably the stream now called the Me Pan Miin, in the Miiang Li distric 



The above account of King P'rajai's wars with Chiengmai is 
taken from the Chiengmai history. This is the only complete 
and coherent account in existence. Luang P'rasoefs History is 
not in conflict with the Chiengmai version ; in particular, all 
mention of Chiengmai having been captured on the second 
expedition (as interpolated in later versions of Siamese history) 
is omitted. 

Pinto professes to have accompanied King P'rajai on his 
second expedition to Chiengmai. As, however, the Portuguese 
adventurer states that he was shipwrecked near Pulo Condor in 
December 1547, a f ter which he came to Siam, and elsewhere 
asserts that he resided in Siam from 1540 till 1545, it is 
impossible to place any reliance in his chronology. In Cogan's 
translation (London, 1663) an attempt has been made to correct 
Pinto's chronology, but without much success. 

Pinto's description of the war with Chiengmai is a mere 
incoherent jumble, made up from the accounts given to him by 
some of his compatriots who had accompanied King P'rajai on 
both expeditions. He mentions a Queen Regent, evidently 
meant to be Maha T'ewi of Chiengmai, but he places her in an 
independent country, called Guipen, with its capital at Guitor. 
This Queen Regent was subdued and made to pay tribute. 
After dealing with her, King P'rajai went on to Chiammay, 
situated near a lake called Singipamor. 

Pinto speaks of 40,000 horses and 4,000 elephants, and is 
guilty of other gross exaggerations. For these reasons it is quite 
impossible to treat him as a serious witness. Congreve, the 
Restoration dramatist, refers to Pinto as one of the most famous 
of the world's liars. Congreve was not far wrong. 



KING P'RAJAI appears to have possessed no wife ranking 
as Queen. The Princess whom Pinto accuses of poisoning 
him held the title of T'ao Sri Suda Chan, a style reserved 
by the Law of Sakdi Na l for one of the four senior non- 
Royal Consorts of a King. By this lady King P'rajai 
had two sons, Prince Keo Fa, born about 1535, and 
Prince Sri Sin, born about 1541. 

It is not clear what arrangements, if any, were made 
by King P'rajai as to appointing a Regent. It would have 
been most unusual to nominate a female for that position, 
and King P'rajai had a younger half-brother, Prince 
T'ien Raja, who would have been the most natural 
person to appoint. However this may be, we find, not 
long after the accession of the young King Keo Fa, that 
the conduct of affairs was in the hands of his mother, 
and that Prince T'ien had retired to the shelter of a 
monastery. 8 

1 See p. 85. 

1 Called in some histories Yot Fa. 

This period of Siamese history is obscure, and the various accounts differ 
from one another and are not always consistent in themselves. Pinto was a 
contemporary observer, but his narrative is, unfortunately, filled with demon- 
strably incorrect statements. For instance, he asserts that Prince T'ien (King 
Maha Chakrap'at) had, at the time of his accession (1549), been a Buddhist 
priest for over thirty years. We know, however, that Pnnce T'ien was at that 
time about forty-two years old, and had several more or less grown-up children. 
Pinto also states that Princess Sri Suda Chan was pregnant when King P'rajai 
died. If this was so, it is difficult to understand how she could have become 

The account here given appears to the author to be the most probable one. 



King P'rajai had not been long dead when the Princess 
Regent fell passionately in love with a young man named 
P'an Sri But T'ep, who held a petty official appointment. 
He was nothing loath to respond to her amorous 
advances, and ere long found himself transferred to a 
post in the palace, with the title of K'un Jinarat. 

As a result of this intrigue, the Princess Regent gave 
birth to a daughter, and the infatuated woman, finding 
further concealment impossible, determined to put a 
bold face upon the matter by making her lover Regent. 

It so happened that certain disturbances occurred at 
this time in the northern provinces of the Kingdom. 
The Princess Regent took advantage of this to obtain 
the consent of her Ministers to raise a considerable 
body of troops for the purpose, as she pretended, of 
protecting the person of the young King. K'un Jinarat 
was entrusted with the duty of enlisting the troops. 
He filled the capital with troops officered by men in 
whom he thought he could trust to acquiesce in the 
projected plot. 

The next step was to remove dangerous opponents. 
P'ya Maha Sena, an aged nobleman, who was known to 
disapprove of the Princess Regent's proceedings, was 
treacherously stabbed in the back, and others shared 
a similar fate. Pinto, with his usual exaggeration, 
asserts that hardly a nobleman was left alive. 

Having cleared her Council of all but a few subservient 
reptiles, the Princess obtained their consent to the 
appointment of K'un Jinarat as Regent during the 
minority of King Keo Fa, with the title of K'un 

The young King was now over thirteen years of age, 
quite old enough to understand and disapprove of his 
mother's conduct. We may easily suppose that he showed 


his resentment in one way or another. K'un Worawongsa 
therefore decided to make away with him. The exact 
manner of his death is uncertain. The earliest account 
merely says that " something happened to him." Later 
histories say that he was executed. The probability 
is that he was poisoned, as stated by Pinto. Certain 
it is that before the end of the year 1548 the short reign 
and the short life of this unfortunate little King both 
came to a sudden end. 1 

On November nth, 1548, K'un Worawongsa was 
publicly crowned as King of Siam, and his brother, 
Nai Chan, was appointed Uparat.* 

It seems extraordinary that anyone could have imagined 
that the nobility and people of Siam would tamely submit 
to this audacious usurpation of the throne by a worthless 
ruffian, whose sole claim to distinction was that he had 
attracted the eye of an abandoned woman. As may 
easily be supposed, a conspiracy was at once hatched 
against him. The ringleader was one K'un P'iren. 1 
This young man had royal blood in his veins, his mother 
being a relative of King P'rajai, and his father a descendant 
of the Kings of Suk'ot'ai. 

K'un P'iren held a secret meeting with three of his 
friends. They determined to kill the usurper and to 
place on the throne Prince T'ien, who, as we have seen, 
had taken the wise step of donning the yellow robe 
when he saw the direction in which events were tending 
after his brother's death. 

Having ascertained that Prince T'ien was prepared 

1 Prince Damrong is unwilling to believe that King Keo Fa's mother was 
privy to his murder, as stated both by Pinto and in the P'ongsawadan. But 
it seems impossible to set a limit to the bounds of human depravity. 

1 Prince Damrong doubts whether it was intended to divert the succession 
to such an extent as this, and suggests that Nai Chan was appointed Chao Phya 
Maha Uparat, a high title of nobliity sometimes conferred, and quite distinct 
from the royal title of Maha Uparat, or Crown Prince. 

* Afterwards King Maha T'ammaraja of Siam. 


to assume the crown if all went well, the four conspirators 
next sought for a supernatural omen. They went at 
dead of night to a temple, and there lighted two candles, 
one representing the usurper and the other Prince T'ien. 
They made a vow that if Prince T'ien's candle went 
out first, they would abandon their enterprise. It so 
happened that K'un Worawongsa's candle was mysteri- 
ously extinguished when burning its brightest. This 
was taken as a sign of Divine approval, and the 
conspirators determined to proceed with their 

Early in January, 1519, a very large elephant was 
observed near Lopburi. K'un Worawongsa ordered 
that it should be driven into a corral, and announced his 
intention of proceeding by boat to Lopburi on January 
1 3th to see the animal caught. 

K'un P'iren went on ahead, and initiated the Governors 
of Sawank'alok 1 and P'ijai into his plans. One of the 
conspirators, Miin Rajasenha, was told off to deal with 
the pseudo-Uparat, Nai Chan. The other five waited, 
each in a separate boat, to intercept the barge of K'un 
Worawongsa and the Princess in a narrow creek leading 
to the corral. When the royal barge appeared in the 
creek, the conspirators surrounded it. "Who bars 
my way ? " cried K'un Worawongsa. K'un P'iren stood 
up in his boat, holding a drawn sword, and replied in a 
terrible voice : " I do ; prepare to die ! " The trembling 
usurper and his guilty partner were dragged ashore and 
beheaded, together with their infant daughter. Their 
bodies were impaled and left as a meal for the 

The little Prince Sri Sin, son of King P'rajai, had 

1 This Governor of Sawank'alok was a Cambodian Prince who had been adopted 
by King Prajai. P'mto speaks of him as King of Cambaye. 


accompanied his mother. He was given into the keeping 
of Prince Tien. 

In the meantime, Miin Rajasenha had been waiting 
behind a tree for Nai Chan, who was riding to the corral 
on an elephant, and accounted for him with a well-aimed 

Only four lives were sacrificed in this liberation of 
Siam from the rule of a low-born scoundrel, namely 
the lives of the usurper and his brother, of the Princess, 
and of her baby. We may spare a moment's pity 
for the little child ; but doubtless K'un P'iren felt 
that it was his duty to extirpate all that hateful 

Prince Tien was brought forth from his monastery, 
and on the igth of January, I549, 1 was crowned as 
King of Siam, with the title of Maha Chakrap'at. 

The new King's first act on attaining the throne was 
to shower unprecedented honours and rewards on those 
who had elevated him. In particular, he bestowed upon 
K'un P'iren the hand of his eldest daughter in marriage, 
and conferred upon him the high title of Somdet Maha 
T'ammaraja, with the position of Governor of P'itsanulok. 
The rank and title of the former K'un P'iren were, in 
fact, almost those of a feudatory King. 

King Tabeng Shwe T'i of Burma had not failed to 
take due note of the violent changes which had taken 
place in the Kingdom of Siam. He felt that this was a 
good opportunity to add Siam to the number of his 
vassal States. Taking some petty frontier incident as 
an excuse, iie therefore invaded Siam early in the year 
1549, at the head of a very powerful army. Siamese 
history gives the numbers of the King of Burma's 

1 The day of the month, as well as that of the coronation of K'un Worawongsa, 
is takenf rom Pinto. The year given by Pinto is 1546, which is certainly wrong. 


forces on this occasion jfe 30x^,000 men, 3,000 horses 

and 700 elephants. 1 * 

The Burmese army advanced by way of Martaban, 
Kanburi and Sup'an. Little serious opposition was met 
with, and by Junq Tabeng Shwe T'i was encamped in 
the neighbourhood of Ayut'ia. 

The siege lasted, according to Pinto, who professes 
to have been in Ayut'ia at the time, for almost four 
months. The fighting was extremely fierce. Several 
times the Burmese came near to forcing an entry into 
the city, but were always repulsed. 

Not only King Chakrap'at and his sons took part in 
the fighting, but likewise his wife, Queen Suriyot'ai, and 
one of his daughters. These two valiant women, wearing 
men's armour and mounted on elephants, fought 
bravely side by side with the men. In attempting to 
rescue the King from a dangerous position, Queen 
Suriyot'ai and her daughter were both pierced through 
by Burmese spears, and fell dead from the backs of their 

The Burmese army was badly equipped, and the 
soldiers suffered great privations and distress. Added 
to this, news reached the Burmese monarch that Maha 
T'ammaraja was about to descend from P'itsanulok at 
the head of a large army. Moreover, he received tidings 
of disturbances in Burma. He therefore determined 
to retire. In a rearguard action he was fortunate 
enough to capture Maha T'ammaraja, the King's 
son-in-law, as well as Prince Ramesuen, the King's 
eldest son, 

1 These figures seem high, but Pinto more than doubte^fe^ J3J wjlaf us 


that the Burmese army consisted of 800,000 men, 40,000 ho 

There were 1,000 cannon, drawn by 1,000 yoke of 

The King of Burma, after taking Suk'ot'ai, proce 

Tilau, descnbed as being on the coast, between Pukn ^nd Aedah. Qft^is left 

wondenng whether Pinto was the most untruthful wf^iterixythe wor^sflr xnerely 

the most credulous. 


King Chakrap'at sent to beg for the return of these 
two Princes. This was agreed to on two conditions ; 
firstly, that the Burmese army should be allowed to 
retire unmolested, and secondly, that two very celebrated 
elephants should be delivered to the King of Burma. 
The two elephants were sent, but they were so unmanage- 
able that they threw the whole Burmese army into 
confusion. They were, therefore, restored to the 
Siamese, and Tabeng Shwe T'i returned to Burma with- 
out even so much as a couple of elephants to show as 
a result of his expedition. 

King Chakrap'at, having had one taste of a Burmese 
invasion, wisely set to work to prepare his Kingdom 
for another. In 1550 he began to build brick walls and 
fortifications round Ayut'ia, to replace the old mud 
wall of King Rama T'ibodi I. He further strengthened 
the defences of the city by causing an exterior moat to 
be dug, in addition to the already existing moat. He 
then proceeded to dismantle the defences of several 
frontier towns which were thought difficult to hold, 
and were more likely to serve as bases for the enemy 
than as defences to the capital. 

At this time, moreover, the system of calling 
up men for military service was reorganised, and 
the fleet of river warships was enlarged, and was 
improved by the introduction of a new type of 

The towns of Nont'aburi, Nak'on Jaisri, and 
T'achin were also founded at this period, together 
with other towns, to be used as recruiting 

King Chakrap'at had great faith in elephants as a 
fighting arm, and he spent most of his spare time during 
the next few years in catching these animals. Between 


the years 1550 and 1562 he captured nearly three hundred 
elephants. 1 

The Kings of Cambodia filled, with regard to Siam, 
a similar role to that filled by the Kings of Scotland 
with regard to England in the Middle Ages. Whenever 
Siam was in difficulties, Cambodia was certain to be 
troublesome. During the siege of Ayut'ia in 1549 the 
King of Cambodia, Chandaraja, carried out a raid on 
Prachim. This necessitated a punitive expedition in 
1551, which was apparently successful. In 1556 war 
with Cambodia broke out again. A Cambodian Prince, 
named P'ya Ong, who had been adopted by King 
P'rajai of Siam and made Governor of Sawank'alok, 
was placed in command of the Siamese forces. 8 He 
allowed his army to become separated from the supporting 
fleet of boats. As a result, he was defeated with great 
loss, and was himself slain in the conflict. No attempt 
appears to have been made to repair this disaster. 

In the year 1561 a serious rebellion occurred. The 
younger son of King P'rajai, Prince Sri Sin, had been 
adopted and brought up by King Chakrap'at. On 
reaching the age of thirteen or fourteen he had been 
ordained as a Buddhist novice. Shortly after his ordina- 
tion he was accused of plotting against the King, and 
was therefore kept under strict supervision until the 
year 1561. As he was then nineteen years of age, King 
Chakrap'at gave orders that he was to be ordained as 
a Buddhist priest. The Prince escaped, gathered his 
adherentr .ogether, and made a surprise assault upon 
the capital by night. After defeating the Commander 
of the King's troops in single combat, he forced his 

1 Chinese history relates that in 1553 the King of Siam sent a white elephant 
for the Emperor Si Chong Hong Te (eleventh of the Ming dynasty). The elephant 
died on the journey, but its tusks and tail were taken to the Emperor. 

This was probably the Governor of Sawank'alok who took part in the 
conspiracy against K'un Worawongsa. 


way into the palace. The King escaped by boat ; but his 
two sons, Prince Ramesuen and Prince Mahin, assembled 
their forces and attacked Prince Sri Sin's adherents. The 
young Prince was killed, fighting bravely to the last. 
Most of his adherents were apprehended and executed. 

Prince Sri Sin deserves to be called one of the heroes 
of Siamese history. Few will doubt but that this gallant 
youth, who died sword in hand, fighting bravely for his 
father's throne, would have made a better King than 
his rival, the miserable Mahin. Had Prince Sri Sin 
succeeded in his enterprise, Siam might possibly have 
been spared the degradation into which she sank only a 
few years later. 

We must now retrace our steps for a few moments to 
consider the course of events in Burma. Tabeng Shwe 
T'i, after his retreat from Siam in 1540, fell under the 
influence of a Portuguese named Diego Suarez, who 
encouraged him to drink in excess. The King became 
quite unable to govern, and in 1550 was assassinated. 
Burma then fell into great confusion, and was once 
more split up into several small States ; but Bhureng 
Noung, the brother-in-law of Tabeng Shwe T'i, pro- 
claimed himself King, and by 1555 had established his 
control over Taungu, Prome, Pegu and Ava. 

Bhureng Noung next picked a quarrel with Chiengmai. 
The ruler of Chiengmai at that time was Maharaja 
Mekut'i, who had been summoned to the throne in 
1549.* In 1556 the Burmese monarch was engaged in 

1 Prince Jai Jett'a was crowned as Maharaja of Chiengmai shortly after King 
P'rajai's second expedition and death (1547). He only remained in Chiengmai 
for two years, and then returned to Luang P'rabang to fight his younger brother, 
who had assumed the crown of Luang P'rabang on the sudden death of their 
father. It was on this occasion that King Jai Jett'a removed from Chiengmai 
the emerald Buddha, the crystal Buddha of Lamp'un, the P'rasmgh, and other 
particularly sacred images. None of them were returned except the P'rasingh. 

King Jai Jett'a announced his intention of remaining at Luang P'rabang: 
the Chiengmai nobles therefore held that the throne was vacant, ana summoned 
the nval candidate, Prince Mekut'i of Miiang Nai, to become Maharaja. (1549.) 


an expedition against some of the Shan States, and he 
accused Maharaja Mekut'i (himself a Prince of Mfiang 
Nai) of assisting the Shans. Chiengmai was besieged 
by a strong Burmese army, and was taken, after only 
a few days' resistance, in April, 1556. Thus fell, never to 
rise again, the independent Tai Kingdom of Chiengmai 
or Lannat'ai, two hundred and sixty years after its 
establishment by King Mengrai. 

Maharaja Mekut'i was permitted to rule as a vassal 
of the King of Burma, and a Burmese army of occupation 
was left at Chiengmai. 

By the irony of fate, the efforts made by King 
Chakrap'at to capture elephants for the defence of his 
country were the indirect cause of the second Burmese 
invasion. Among the animals captured were no less 
than seven white elephants. The King was persuaded 
to adopt the title of " Lord of the White Elephants." 
The King of Burma saw in this as good an excuse as 
any other to precipitate war. He therefore sent envoys 
to demand two of the white elephants. 

King Chakrap'at consulted his advisers. Some held 
that it was better to surrender a couple of white elephants 
than to plunge the country into war ; others, headed by 
Prince Ramesuen, advised the King that it would dis- 
grace him in the eyes of the whole world if he were to 
submit tamely to so unreasonable a request ; moreover, 
they argued, submission would only encourage the King 
of Burma to put forward still more outrageous demands. 
In the end, an unfavourable reply was sent to Bhureng 
Noung, who thereupon at once declared war. 

Bhureng Noung, as has been seen, was far more 
powerful than any of his predecessors had been. His 
control over Chiengmai placed him in a position so 
favourable for carrying out an invasion of Siam that the 


result was almost a foregone conclusion. Moreover, 
the northern provinces of Siam were at that time ravaged 
by pestilence and afflicted by famine, and were, therefore, 
in no condition to offer a very strenuous opposition to an 

In the autumn of the year 1563 the King of Burma 
advanced into Siam with an army said by the Siamese 
historian to have numbered 900,000 men, including 
troops not only from Burma, but also from Chiengmai 
and other Lao States. Kamp'engp'et was invested and 
was easily taken, the Maharaja of Chiengmai assisting 
with a fleet of boats. Suk'ot'ai made a stout resistance, 
but could not withstand the superior force of the Burmese. 
Sawank'alok and P'ijai capitulated. P'itsanulok, then 
a prey to famine and pestilence, fell after a short siege. 

Maha T'ammaraja, King Chakrap'at's son-in-law, 
accompanied Bhureng Noung on his march to the south, 
together with an army of 70,000 men from the northern 
Siamese provinces. Willingly, or unwillingly, he thus 
openly ranged himself on the Burmese side. 

The Siamese, aided by a few Portuguese free-lances, 
made two attempts to stay the progress of the immense 
Burmese army, but were defeated and driven back. 

The Burmese reached Ayut'ia in February 1564. 
The King of Siam was quite unable to raise a sufficient 
force to offer any effective resistance. After the Burmese 
had directed a cannonade against the city, the population, 
realising that they were almost helpless, pressed the 
King to come to terms with the invaders. Their demands 
were supported by those nobles who from the first had 
been in favour of surrendering the white elephants. A 
conference was accordingly held between the two 
monarchs in person. 

The terms imposed by the King of Burma were 


onerous. Prince Ramesuen, P'ya Chakri and P'ya 
Sunt'orn Songk'ram, the leaders of the war party, were 
to be delivered up as hostages, an annual tribute of thirty 
elephants and three hundred catties of silver was to be 
sent to Burma, and the Burmese were to be granted the 
right to collect and retain the customs duties of the port 
of Mergui then the chief emporium of foreign trade. 
In addition to this, four white elephants were to be 
handed over, instead of the two originally demanded. * 

It is possible that the terms imposed might have been 
even harsher, but for the fact that the tidings of a rebellion 
at home caused Bhureng Noung to be desirous of return- 
ing to Burma as soon as possible. Leaving an army of 
occupation in Siam, he hurried back by way of 

Hardly had the King of Burma left Ayut'ia when a 
serious rebellion broke out, led by the Rajah of Patani. 
The Rajah had raised an army, supported by a fleet of 
two hundred boats, to fight the Burmese. Finding 
that he had arrived too late, and observing that the King 
of Siam was very ill-prepared for resistance, he attempted 
to seize the throne. King Chakrap'at, for the second 
time in his reign, fled from his palace in a panic. The 
rebellion was, however, successfully suppressed. 

Some time before the second Burmese invasion, King 
Jai Jett'a, of Luang P'rabang, who had then recently 
established a new capital at Wiengchan (Sri Satan- 
akonahut), sent to ask for the hand of Princess T'ep 
Krasatri, one of the daughters of King Chakrap'at and 
the warrior Queen Suriyot'ai. The Siamese King agreed 
to this marriage, although he had already given one of his 

1 Burmese history relates that King Chakrap'at himself, as well as Prince 
Ramesuen, was taken to Burma as a hostage. Prince Damrong has cited very 
strong rcabons for believing this to be incorrect. The truth can never now be 
known for certain. 


daughters in marriage to King Jai Jett'a. When the 
time came for the Princess to leave for Wiengchan, she 
was unwell, so King Chakrap'at sent another of his 
daughters, by a different wife, in her stead. The King 
of Wiengchan, whose taste in collecting Princesses seems 
to have been equal to his discrimination in amassing other 
people's images of Buddha, was very annoyed. As soon 
as the Burmese had retired, and communication with 
Ayut'ia was possible, he sent back the unwanted Princess, 
with a message asserting his intention to accept Princess 
T'ep Krasatri, and no other. 

In April 1564 Princess T'ep Krasatri finally set out for 
Wiengchan. Maha T'ammaraja of P'itsanulok had, 
however, not been reckoned with. He had informed the 
King of Burma about the business which was on foot. 
Burmese troops were, we may assume, easily available in 
various parts of Siam. The Princess was intercepted by 
a Burmese force near P'etchabun, and carried off to Burma. 

From this time onwards the King of Wiengchan and 
the Governor of P'itsanulok lost no opportunity of 
injuring one another. 

Later in the same year (1564) Bhureng Noung dis- 
covered that Maharaja Mekut'i of Chiengmai was 
plotting to regain his independence. The Burmese 
therefore reoccupied Chiengmai and took the Maharaja 
back to Burma, leaving Princess Maha T'ewi as Regent 
of Chiengmai. As has been seen, this lady had already 
been Regent once before, at the time of the invasions by 
King P'rajai. (1546-7.) 

Bhureng Noung was accompanied on this expedition 
to Chiengmai by Prince Ramesuen of Siam, The young 
Prince fell ill and died on the journey. 

1 Prince Damrong places these events a little later, namely about 1565, after 
the Burmese invasion of Wiengchan. The author has followed the two oldest 
versions of Siamese history. 


Some of the confederates of the Maharaja fled to 
Wiengchan. Thither they were pursued by the Crown 
Prince of Burma. King Jai Jett'a escaped to the jungle, 
leaving his capital at the mercy of the Burmese, who 
removed to Burma his brother and all his wives, including 
a daughter of King Chakrap'at. 

At the end of the year 1565 King Chakrap'at appointed 
his son, Prince Mahin, to be Regent, and retired into 
private life. 

The task of the Regent was no easy one, and Prince 
Mahin was a man of little ability, and quite incapable of 
dealing with the difficult problems which faced him. 
Maha T'ammaraja interfered in every detail of the 
administration, and opposed every measure which 
appeared to be contrary to the interests of the King 
of Burma. 

One P'ya Ram, Governor of Kamp'engp'et, being 
dissatisfied with Maha T'ammaraja's policy, came to 
Ayut'ia, and became before long the chief adviser of the 
Prince Regent. His influence was strongly anti- 

P'ya Ram conceived the plan of regaining control over 
the northern provinces with the assistance of the King of 
Wiengchan, who was secretly invited to attack P'its- 
anulok. King Jai Jett'a needed no second invitation. 
At the end of the year 1566 he advanced to P'itsanulok 
at the head of a large army and laid siege to the town. 
The Prince Regent of Siam marched northwards with a 
strong force, supported by a fleet of boats, ostensibly to 
assist his kinsman, but in reality with the intention of 
gaining access to the town and delivering it to the King 
of Wiengchan. The Prince was refused admittance, and 
before long a Burmese army, sent for by Maha T'am- 
maraja on the first threat of danger, arrived. The King 


of Wiengchan was forced to retire, and the Prince 
Regent of Siam returned home discomfited, after seeing 
his fleet of boats destroyed by means of burning rafts 
which were turned loose in its midst. 

In July 1567 King Chakrap'at became a Buddhist 

Early in 1568 Maha T'ammaraja demanded the sur- 
render of P'ya Ram, nominally in order to make him 
Governor of P'ijai. The Prince Regent refused. Maha 
T'ammaraja insisted. The Prince began to feel that the 
situation was fast becoming one with which he was 
incompetent to deal. He therefore begged the old 
King to resume the reins of office, which the latter did 
in the month of April 1568. 

At about the same time Maha T'ammaraja left P'its- 
anulok on a visit to Burma, probably to complain to 
Bhureng Noung of the conduct of Prince Mahin during 
the invasion of King Jai Jett'a. He now threw himself 
entirely into the hands of Bhureng Noung, and accepted 
the position of a vassal Prince, with the title of Chao Fa 
Song K'we. l 

King Chakrap'at and Prince Mahin took advantage of 
Maha T'ammaraja's absence in Burma to carry out a 
design which they probably thought was a great stroke 
of policy, but which proved to be not only useless but 
disastrous. They went to P'itsanulok, removed the 
King's daughter, Princess Wisut Krasatri (Maha T'am- 
maraja's wife), together with her children, and took them 
to Ayut'ia as hostages. Prince Mahin then proceeded to 
attack Kamp'engp'et. He failed to take it, and returned 
to Ayut'ia, only to learn that the King of Burma was on 
the point of avenging Maha T'ammaraja's wrongs by an 
immediate invasion. Nothing now remained but to 

1 Song K'we was the ancient name of P'itsanulok. 


prepare for defence. This King Chakrap'at did to the 
best of his ability ; but the time at his disposal was short 
and his resources scanty. 

In December 1568, a Burmese army, 1 the largest which 
had yet invaded Siam, arrived at Ayut'ia, having met with 
practically no opposition on the way. 

Maha T'ammaraja, needless to say, accompanied the 
Burmese army. The Princess Regent of Chiengmai was 
also compelled to send troops to assist. 

In January 1569 King Chakrap'at died. He fell ill 
almost immediately after the commencement of the 
siege. His age at the time of his death was sixty-two. 

Pinto says of this King : " He was a religious man, who 
had no knowledge of arms or of war, and withal of a 
cowardly disposition, a tyrant, and ill-beloved of his 
subjects." But Pinto, who probably left Siam before 
King Chakrap'at's accession, can have had no good 
grounds for so harsh a judgment. The author pictures 
this King as a weak, good-natured man ; generous to his 
friends ; merciful, as shown by his conduct to Prince 
Sri Sin, a dangerous rival. He seems always to have 
tried to do his best for his country in very difficult 
circumstances, and he occupies no unworthy place among 
the Kings of Siam. 

The new King, Mahin, gave up all attempt to conduct 
the defence of the city, and devoted himself to puerile 
amusements, leaving everything in the hands of P'ya 
Ram. He could not have done better, for P'ya Ram, 
assisted by several other nobles, put up a stubborn defence, 
and inflicted severe damage on the enemy. The King's 
young brother, Sri Sawaraja, a mere lad, also greatly 
distinguished himself by his bravery and military capacity. 

1 CaRsar Frederick, who was in Burma at the time, says that the Burmese army 
numbered 1,400,000 men. Their losses were 500,000. (Purchas) Ralph Fitch 
says 300,000 men and 5,000 elephants. The P'ongsawadan says 1,000,000 men. 


The King of Burma now determined to get rid of 
P'ya Ram. He therefore caused Maha T'ammaraja 
to write secretly to his wife in Ayut'ia, saying that P'ya 
Ram alone was the author and instigator of the war ; 
if he were delivered up, terms could easily be arranged. 
King Mahin, after asking the advice of members of the 
faction opposed to P'ya Ram, was base enough to deliver 
up his faithful General to the Burmese. He was punished 
for his treachery, for Bhureng Noung, with equal base- 
ness, broke his word, and refused to discuss terms, 
demanding unconditional surrender. 

In May King Mahin became jealous of his brave 
young brother, Prince Sri Sawaraja. He accused the 
young Prince of taking too much responsibility upon 
himself, and cruelly ordered him to be executed. 

The siege lagged on until August, and in the end the 
city only fell through treachery. P'ya Chakri, who, as 
will be remembered, was one of the hostages sent to 
Burma with Prince Ramesuen after the second Burmese 
invasion in 1563, had accompanied Bhureng Noung to 
Ayut'ia. He appeared one day in chains before one of 
the Siamese forts, pretending that he had escaped from 
confinement. King Mahin received him well, and placed 
him in a position of authority. Before long the traitor 
had posted his creatures at several important points. 
The vulnerable positions were duly notified to the 
Burmese. On Sunday, August 3Oth, 1569, a great attack 
was made, this time with success. Thus Ayut'ia fell 
for the first time, a victim to the treachery of one of her 
own sons. 1 

King Mahin, and all the Royal Family, were taken 
away captive to Burma, together with a vast concourse 

1 Burmese history relates that Bhureng Noung found occasion, not long after 
the fall of Ayut'ia, to have P'ya Ram executed ; a just fate for so infamous 
a traitor. 


of prisoners and a large number of cannon. After an 
interval of three months Maha T'ammaraja was set up 
as a puppet King. 

King Mahin died of fever on the way to Burma. We 
are told that Bhureng Noung encouraged the doctors who 
attended the Royal prisoner by threatening them with 
death if they failed to cure him, and that, when he died, 
eleven doctors were executed. A severe punishment for 
failing to save the life of a very worthless man. 



BHURENG NOUNG remained at Ayut'ia to witness the 
coronation of his vassal, Maha T'ammaraja, who was 
made King with the title of P'ra Sri Sarap'et, but who is 
better known in history as King Maha T'ammaraja. This 
monarch was, by virtue of his descent, a suitable occupant 
of the throne of Siam. His mother was related to the 
Royal Family of Ayut'ia, and his father was a descendant 
of the Kings of Suk'ot'ai. His elevation to the throne 
was, however, connected in the minds of his people with 
the degradation of their country, and during the earlier 
years of his reign we may suppose that he was an object 
of hatred and contempt to his subjects. 

The King of Burma removed most of the population 
of Ayut'ia and dismantled the defences of the city. 
Only ten thousand inhabitants were left behind in the 
vanquished and now defenceless capital. Many Siamese 
must have thought that the glory of their country had 
departed for ever, and that nothing but a miracle could 
restore their freedom. And truly, as we shall see, the 
power of recuperation shown by this people was little 
short of miraculous. 

During the next fifteen years Siam was little more than 
a province of Burma. Burmese officials resided at 
Ayut'ia and at other important centres, and many 
Burmese laws and institutions were forced upon the 



country. The Burmese era, established by T'inga Raja, 
a ruler who usurped the throne of Pagan in A.D. 638, was 
introduced into Siam at this time, to replace the old 
Mahasakarat era 1 ; this Burmese era became known in 
Siam by the name of Chulasakarat 1 or Little Era, and was 
in use until 1887. It * s not 7 et entirely obsolete. 

To the same period probably belongs also the intro- 
duction of the Dhammathat, or Code of Manu. This 
code, which was doubtless well suited to the needs of the 
Indian Brahminical Society in 600 B.C., was with diffi- 
culty grafted on to the laws of Buddhist Siam in the 
sixteenth century of the Christian era. At the present 
time the Siamese have freed themselves almost wholly 
from Manu's paralysing influence ; but the more con- 
servative Burmese still retain this hoary and anachronistic 
piece of legislation.' 

Siam's troubles with Burma afforded a good oppor- 
tunity to Cambodia to pay off old scores. 4 In the year 
following the fall of Ayut'ia, King Boromoraja of Cam- 
bodia invaded Siam, thinking doubtless that he could 
seize the new defenceless capital with great ease, and 
return home with many prisoners and plenty of booty. 
He was wrong ; a stern resistance was offered, and the 
Cambodians were forced to retire after suffering heavy 
losses. This Cambodian invasion, and others which were 
carried out during the following few years, clearly show 
the weakness of Siam at that time. Cambodia had not 
been a formidable antagonist since the foundation of 

1 The Mahasakarat Era was introduced in southern India by King Kanishka; 
in A.D. 78. It was probably introduced into Siam and Cambodia by King 
Kamshka's missionanes. (See chapter 11.) 

2 The Siamese legend that the Chulasakarat Era was introduced by King 
Ramk'amhcng of Suk'ot'ai is unworthy of serious consideration. All the carved 
inscriptions of King Ramk'amheng and his successors use only the Mahasakarat. 

"The Dhammathat was introduced into Burma in the reign of Wareru of 
Pegu (1287-96). The version now in use was drawn up in the reign of T'ado 
T'ammaraja (Thalun): (1629-48). 

* One is reminded of the " weasel Scot," as pictured by Shakespeare (Henry V, 
act i., scene 2). 


Ayut'ia, having, in fact, usually occupied the position 
of a vassal State. 

The Cambodian invasion proved to be a blessing in 
disguise, for it afforded an excuse to King Maha T'am- 
maraja to strengthen the defences of Ayut'ia without 
exciting the distrust of the King of Burma. This 
opportunity was eagerly grasped, for King Maha T'am- 
maraja was not the man to resign himself to a permanent 
state of subjection. New walls were built, canals were 
dug, and cannon were purchased from the Portuguese 
and other foreigners. 

We must now introduce the most celebrated hero and 
warrior who ever played a part upon the stage of Siamese 
history, namely Naresuen the Great. 

This Prince was the elder son of King Maha T'am- 
maraja. He was born in 1555. After the invasion of 
Siam by Bhureng Noung in 1564, Prince Naresuen was 
taken to Burma as a hostage for the fidelity of his father 
a precaution which seems to have had the desired 
result. On becoming King of Siam, King Maha T'am- 
maraja gave one of his daughters in marriage to Bhureng 
Noung, and at the same time begged that Prince Naresuen 
might be allowed to return to Siam. The request was 
gran ted, and the young Prince, then aged sixteen, returned 
home in 1571. He was appointed Maha Uparat, and 
was sent up as Governor of P'itsanulok, in accordance 
with ancient custom. 

Prince Naresuen was popularly known as the Black 
Prince, his younger brother, Prince Ekat'otsarot, born 
about 1568, being known as the White Prince. As will 
be seen, Siam's Black Prince was no unworthy namesake 
of our English Black Prince. 

In 1574 the King of Burma undertook an invasion of 
Wiengchan, and compelled the King of Siam and Prince 






t ; 




Naresuen to accompany him, Prince Ekat'otsarot being 
left behind as Regent at Ayut'ia. Prince Naresuen fell 
ill with smallpox on the Way. The Burmese therefore 
proceeded to Wiengchan without their Siamese auxiliaries. 1 

In 1575 and 1578 Siam was disturbed by further 
Cambodian invasions. 1 The Cambodians were repulsed 
on both occasions, but they succeeded in capturing a 
large number of prisoners. Siam, in her depopulated 
condition, could ill afford this constant drain upon 
her manhood. During these Cambodian raids the 
young Black Prince had several opportunities of 
displaying his military capacity and his personal 

After the Cambodian invasion of 1578 P'ya Chin 
Chantu, a Cambodian nobleman who had been visiting 
Ayut'ia, ostensibly as a political refugee, but in reality 
as a spy, escaped away. The Black Prince and his 
young brother pursued the fugitive. An action ensued, 
in which Prince Naresuen astonished all beholders by his 
reckless disregard of danger. From that time onwards 
he began to be looked upon, both in Siam and in Burma, 
as the one man likely to undertake the difficult task of 
freeing his country from Burmese dominion. 

In 1578 Princess MahaT'ewi, the Regent of Chiengmai, 
died. Bhureng Noung thereupon set up one of his own 

*This was the second Burmese invasion of Wiengchan Luang P'rabang 
territory since the fall of Ayut'ia. The first was in 1569-70. King Jai Jett'a, 
as usual, fled to the jungle with the greater part of the population of Wiengchan, 
and the Burmese retired, after suffering great hardships from famine and disease. 
In 1571 King Jai Jett'a, while engaged in a war in Cambodia, lost himself in the 
jungle, and was never seen again a judgment on him, perhaps, for stealing all 
the best images of Buddha from Chieng nai. After some disturbances, an infant 
son of Jai Jett'a was set up as King, with one P'ya Sn Suren K'wang 
Regent. The King of Burma insisted on the abdication of the Regeg 
of a brother of King Jai Jett'a, who had been a prisoner in 
invasion of 1565. The Regent ignored this demand. Henc 
1574, which resulted in the capture of Pnnce Noh Keo and tlj 
brother of King Jai Jett'a to the throne of Wiengchan as 
This marks the extreme limit attained by Bhureng Noung's i 
threw off the Burmese yoke in 1595. 

1 King Boromoraja of Cambodia died in 1576, and was 
who assumed the title of P'ra Satt'a 



sons, Tharawadi Min, as vassal Prince of Chiengmai. 
He was given the title of Nohrata Zaw. 

In 1580 King Maha T'ammaraja began to make 
further improvements in the fortifications of Ayut'ia, 
doubtless giving the Cambodian menace as an excuse. 
In the same year a serious rebellion broke out in eastern 
Siam. The rebel leader, Yan Prajien, defeated and killed 
the General who was sent against him, and the King's 
troops went over to the rebels. Yan Prajien then attacked 
Lopburi, but was killed in action, whereupon the rebels 
were dispersed. 

Later in that same year the King of Cambodia attacked 
and captured P'etchaburi, removing most of the popula- 
tion as prisoners, and in 1582 yet another Cambodian 
incursion was made into eastern Siam. 

Siamese history concerns itself but little with the 
condition of the common people. We can, however, 
easily guess that at this period they had reached the lowest 
possible degree of misery and want. Numberless men 
had been killed in the wars with Burma, and thousands 
more had been swept away into slavery in Burma and 
Cambodia. The few who remained were barely able, 
we may suppose, to plant the rice crop from year to year ; 
yet all had to work like slaves in order to raise the tribute 
payable to the King of Burma. 

But the day of deliverance was at hand. In the month 
of December 1581 King Bhureng Noung of Burma died. 
He was sixty-six years of age, and had reigned for thirty- 
one years. The Burmese Empire, whose heterogeneous 
elements had only been held together by the strong 
personality of Bhureng Noung, was inherited by his son, 
Nanda Bhureng, a man who possessed all his father's 
ruthlessness and cruelty, but none of his will-power or 
military capacity. 


One of Nanda Bhureng's first acts after ascending the 
throne was to call upon all the vassal Kings and Princes 
of Burma to attend in person to do him homage. The 
King of Siam was unable to attend, and was represented 
on this occasion by Prince Naresuen. 

While the Siamese Prince was in Burma, a rebellion 
broke out at Muang Kum, in the Shan States. The King 
of Burma sent up Prince Naresuen with a Siamese force, 
accompanied by two Burmese Princes, to subdue the 
rebellious city. The Black Prince of Siam succeeded 
in capturing the city after both the Burmese Princes had 
failed ignominiously to do so. This success did not 
enhance the Black Prince's popularity at the Burmese 
Court. Relations between him and the Crown Prince 
of Burma became strained, and he returned to Siam at 
the end of 1582.* This visit served to show him the 
internal weakness of the Burmese Empire, and he went 
home fully determined to strike a blow for the freedom 
of Siam as soon as a favourable occasion should 

During the year 1583 Burma made preparations for 
war. The road across the frontier to Kamp'engp'et 
was improved, and large supplies for an invading army 
were collected at Kamp'engp'et, which was at that time 
included in the dominions of the Burmese Prince of 

In 1584 trouble arose between Nanda Bhureng and 
his brother-in-law, the Prince of Ava. A daughter of 
the latter was married to the Burmese Crown Prince. 
She complained to her father that she was being mal- 
treated. He determined to rebel, and wrote to some of 
the other subject Princes of Burma asking them to join 
him. The design was revealed to Nanda Bhureng, who 

1 According to some accounts he escaped, and was pursued to the frontier. 


at once proceeded to attack Ava, leaving the Crown 
Prince as Regent at Hanthawadi. 

Prince Naresuen was ordered to assist in this expedition, 
and Nanda Bhureng thought the occasion favourable for 
getting rid of a man who showed signs of becoming a 
dangerous enemy. He therefore instructed two Peguan 
nobles to meet the Siamese Prince on the frontier and 
accompany him into Burma. While on the march, they 
were to find an opportunity to murder him. 

Prince Naresuen met these two nobles at Miiang 
K'reng. After meeting him, the intended assassins 
were touched by his youth and his gallant bearing ; 
their consciences revolted against their infamous task, 
and they divulged the plot to the Prince. 

Prince Naresuen then called a meeting of all his 
Generals, together with the principal Peguan officials 
in the district, and openly declared to them that he 
renounced, on behalf of his father, Siam's allegiance to 
Burma. This important declaration was made at MUang 
K'reng in the month of May 1584. 

Most of the population along the border joined Prince 
Naresuen, and he proceeded to Hanthawadi at the head 
of a considerable force, and laid siege to the city. He 
shortly afterwards learned, however, that Nanda Bhureng 
had defeated the Prince of Ava, and was returning to 
Hanthawadi. Not being, as yet, in a condition to 
encounter a victorious army, instead of, as he had hoped, 
a routed one, he returned to Siam, taking with him a large 
number of prisoners. The majority of these were 
Siamese who had been captured by the Burmese in 
previous wars, and forced to settle in Pegu. 

The King of Burma, incensed at these proceedings, 
at once despatched a force, commanded by the Crown 
Prince, to pursue the Siamese. Prince Naresuen utterly 


defeated them on the banks of the Sittaung River. 1 One 
of the Burmese Generals, Surakamma, was shot dead 
by the Siamese Prince. This was the first victory 
gained by the Siamese against the Burmese for many 

This success was soon followed by another. Nanda 
Bhureng demanded the surrender of a number of Shan 
prisoners who had fled from Burma to P'itsanulok. The 
Black Prince haughtily declined to accede to this demand, 
and in his reply openly asserted the independence of 
Siam. A Burmese army advanced to Kamp'engp'et for 
the purpose of compelling the surrender of the Shans. 
An army from northern Siam was sent to Kamp'engp'et, 
and the Burmese were driven back across the frontier. 

The Governors of Sawank'alok and P'ijai, fearing the 
vengeance of the King of Burma, declined to assist in this 
operation, thinking it safer to rebel against their own 
King. They fortified themselves in Sawank'alok, but 
the city was stormed by the Black Prince, and the two 
rebel leaders were captured and executed. 

About this time, King Satt'a of Cambodia decided that 
he would do well to throw in his lot with Siam ; he 
accordingly sent envoys to Ayut'ia, who succeeded in 
concluding a treaty between the two Kingdoms. 

Nanda Bhureng now made preparations for a serious 
invasion of Siam, and the Siamese, fully aware of his 
intention, laid plans for resisting him. Three armies 
were raised, one under P'ya Chakri, one under the 
Governor of Suk'ot'ai, and one under the two Siamese 
Princes. It is unlikely that the total forces available 
exceeded 50,000 men, and this number was only attained 

1 Burmese history states that the Crown Prince followed the Siamese as far 
as Ayut'ia, where he was defeated. The Siamese account appears more probable. 
The musket used by Prince Naresuen in this action formed for many years part 
of the regalia of Siam, and was known as the " Musket of the Battle of the 
Sittaung River." 


by removing almost the whole population of the northern 
provinces to Ayut'ia, by which means the entire strength 
of the Kingdom was concentrated in the district im- 
mediately surrounding the capital. The rice crop on the 
enemy's probable line of march was either gathered in 
or destroyed, and other supplies were removed. 

In December 1584 a Burmese army of 30,000 men 
advanced into Siam by the Three Pagodas route. They 
were led by the Prince of Bassein, an uncle of the King 
of Burma, The plan of campaign was to advance to 
Ayut'ia, where they were to be joined by another army 
of 100,000 men, under the Burmese Prince of Chiengmai. 
The plan miscarried. The army of the Prince of Bassein 
arrived at Sup'an long before the Chiengmai force was 
anywhere near, and after several engagements was driven 
back across the frontier with great loss. 

The Prince of Chiengmai did not arrive in Siam until 
February 1585, about a fortnight after the final defeat 
of the army of the Prince of Bassein. He encamped at 
Jainat, and after he had lost a great many men through 
constant guerilla attacks by the Siamese, he retired to 
Kamp'engp'et, without having attempted any serious 

Nanda Bhureng threw the whole blame for the failure 
of this expedition onto Tharawadi Min, who had been 
so dilatory in his march from Chiengmai. He ordered 
him to advance once more to Nak'onsawan, in order to 
carry out preparations for a further great invasion of 
Siam during the next cold season. These preparations 
were to consist in destroying the crops and in hindering 
the populations near Ayut'ia from cultivating their fields. 
While thus destroying the Siamese supplies, the Burmese 
commissariat was to be assured by planting rice in the 
depopulated provinces of northern Siam. The Crown 


Prince of Burma, with 50,000 men, was stationed at 
Kamp'engp'et in order to assist in these preparations. 

The Prince of Chiengmai established his camp at the 
village of Sraket, near Angt'ong. 

Prince Naresuen was not the man to allow the Burmese 
to carry out their preparations under his very nose. The 
Prince of Chiengmai was attacked and defeated several 
times. Finally, in April 1586, his army was drawn into 
an ambush by means of a pretended retreat by an attack- 
ing Siamese force, and he was routed, losing 10,000 men, 
1 20 elephants and 400 boats. Tharawadi Min himself 
only narrowly escaped falling into the hands of the Black 
Prince. He fled in the nick of time, leaving all his 
personal property to be captured by the Siamese. 1 

This was a most important victory. In particular, 
several thousands of Lao prisoners, who could be used 
to till the padi fields, were of incalculable value to Siam 
at that time. 

Siam now found herself in a better position to resist a 
Burmese invasion than had been the case since the days 
of King Chakrap'at. 

The King of Cambodia had sent an army, under the 
command of his brother, Prince Srisup'anma, to assist 
in the attack on the Prince of Chiengmai. This was the 
first time that Siam and Cambodia had ever acted 
together, and the result was unfortunate. The Black 
Prince considered that Prince Srisup'anma treated him 
with discourtesy during the return journey to Ayut'ia, 
and retaliated by causing the severed heads of some of the 
Lao prisoners to be impaled close to the boat of the 
Cambodian Prince. The latter complained to his brother, 

1 Burmese history makes no mention of this defeat, but we read in the Annals 
of Chiengmai as follows : " In the year 947 (1585-6) the King of Burma ordered 
Chiengmai to attack Ayut'ia. When the Chiengmai army got near Ayut la, the 
Siamese defeated and scattered them. Many men, elephants, horses and arms 
were lost. The army retreated to Chiengmai." 


on his return to Cambodia, of the treatment which he 
had received. King Satt'a was greatly offended, and 
determined to abandon the alliance with Siam as soon as 
a good opportunity should arise. 

Although the preliminary operations planned by King 
Nanda Bhureng in preparation for a fresh invasion of 
Siam had so grievously miscarried, the invasion was 
duly undertaken in November 1586. The Burmese force 
this time consisted of 250,000 men, and should have 
been able, given good generalship, utterly to crush any 
opposition which Siam could offer. This great army 
was divided into three portions, one under the King of 
Burma himself, one under the Crown Prince, and the 
third under the Prince of Taungu. * 

The Siamese had had plenty of time to prepare for 
resistance. The whole available population was gathered 
together at Ayut'ia, and all the crops, ripe and unripe, 
were either harvested or destroyed. Small bands of 
men, under leaders experienced in guerilla tactics, were 
collected for the purpose of harassing the Burmese when- 
ever a chance offered. No attempt was made to hold the 
surrounding country, except to the south, where it was, 
of course, of paramount importance to maintain com- 
munication with the sea. 

The three Burmese armies advanced to Ayut'ia from 
the north, the west and the east, arriving simultaneously 
early in January 1587. The siege lasted until May, 
and was notable on account of the resource and courage 
shown by Prince Naresuen and his young brother. The 
latter narrowly escaped death by a Burmese bullet, and 
the former continually carried out raids on the Burmese 
camps, often being seen on foot, leading his men where the 

1 Brother of Bhureng Noting. The Prince of Chiengmai was held to have proved 
himself an incompetent General, so was placed in charge of the Commissariat 
Department. From the result, it would appear that he made a mess of it. 


fighting was hottest, and always oblivious to danger or 
fatigue. It is impossible to doubt that it was the example 
thus set by Prince Naresuen, and nothing else, which 
inspired the Siamese to offer so stern a resistance against 
what must have seemed overwhelming odds. In the 
end, the King of Burma, disheartened by the heavy 
losses sustained by his armies, confronted by the spectres 
of famine and disease, and fearing worse troubles when 
the rainy season started, retired to Burma. 

From this time onwards the independence of Siam 
seemed assured. 

The outcome of this siege was very unfortunate for 
King Satt'a of Cambodia. Determined to avenge his 
brother's real or imaginary wrongs, he invaded Siam 
early in 1587, and captured Prachim. Prince Naresuen 
retaliated, as soon as the Burmese peril had been averted, 
by driving the Cambodians from Prachim and pursuing 
them into their own country. Battambang and Pursat 
were captured, and the Siamese advanced to Lowek, at 
that time the capital of Cambodia. Owing to lack of 
supplies, the Siamese were forCCd to withdraw, but the 
Black Prince from that time onward determined to be 
revenged on King Satt'a. Being himself a man of his 
word, the conduct of the Cambodian monarch in treating 
the Treaty of 1585 as a " scrap of paper " appeared to 
him as a piece of perfidy deserving of condign punishment. 

In July 1590 King Maha T'ammaraja died. He was 
aged seventy-five, and had reigned for twenty-one years. 
In his youth active and patriotic, he became in middle age 
a traitor to his country, and ascended the throne when 
Siam had sunk into a state of degradation for which he was 

1 Siamese histories state that Nanda Bhureng besieged Ayut'ia twice, once 
early in 1587 and again at the beginning of 1588, but give no details about the 
second siege. Burmese history does not mention the second siege. The author 
has concluded that only one siege took place. 


himself largely responsible. As King, he appears to 
have been a nonentity, wisely leaving the conduct of 
affairs to his sons. He lived long enough to see Siam 
once more free ; but he must often have reflected with 
sorrow that it was his sons, and not himself, who severed 
the chains which he had helped to forge. 



PRINCE NARESUEN became King at the age of thirty-five. 
His first act was to appoint his brother, Prince 
Ekat'otsarot, to be Maha Uparat. * He did not, however, 
send the Uparat to govern P'itsanulok, as had been usual 
in previous reigns, but retained him at Ayut'ia. There 
were two reasons for this ; firstly, the great affection 
which existed between the two brothers ; and secondly, 
the depopulated condition of the northern provinces at 
that time. Prince Ekat'otsarot was accorded honours 
higher than those paid to any previous Uparat. His 
brother desired him to be considered as joint King, 
rather than as Crown Prince, and to possess the same 
rank and authority as himself. 

The new King had not been long on the throne before 
he was called upon to repel another Burmese invasion. 
The necessity for making a serious effort to subjugate 
Siam was impressed upon the King of Burma by all his 
advisers, who rightly held that the continual rebellions 
which were taking place in the Shan States were a result 
of the example set by Siam in throwing off the Burmese 

In November 1590 a Burmese army of 200,000 men, 
under the leadership of the Crown Prince, proceeded to 
invade Siam. The route followed was past the Three 

1 See p. 92. 


Pagodas and Kanburi, and it was hoped to reach Ayut'ia 
before the Siamese could organise any opposition. King 
Naresuen, however, was ready for them. He met the 
advance guard of the Burmese, under the Princes of 
Pagan and Bassein, not far from the frontier. The 
Burmese were defeated, the Prince of Pagan being killed 
and the Prince of Bassein captured. The Siamese 
pursued the Burmese until they came up to the main 
army of the Crown Prince. Confusion and panic ensued, 
and the Burmese were driven back across the frontier. 
The Crown Prince himself only narrowly escaped being 
taken prisoner. 

These repeated failures filled Nanda Bhureng with 
apprehension. He foresaw the break-up of his Empire 
and felt that his dynasty was endangered by the fact that 
the Crown Prince was personally involved in these 
disastrous defeats. 

It was decided to make a final effort to subdue Siam. 
An army of 250,000 men was raised, which crossed the 
frontier in December 1592. The Crown Prince was 
nominally in command, but the real leaders were the 
Prince of Prome, who had met with some success in the 
Shan States, Natchin Noung, 1 son of the Prince of 
Taungu, and the Prince of Zaparo.* The Crown Prince 
advanced by way of the Three Pagodas, and the other 
commanders by the Melamao route. The Burmese 
Prince of Chiengmai was also ordered to send his troops 
to assist. 

The King of Siam hardly expected the Burmese to be 
ready for another invasion so soon after the serious 
reverse which they had suffered in 1590. At the end of 

'This was one of the Burmese Princes who accompanied Prince Naresuen to 
Miiang Kum in 1582. 

* A District of Burma, which the author has failed to identify. 


the year 1592 he was making ready to invade Cambodia, 
in order to inflict what he regarded as necessary punish- 
ment upon the treacherous King Satt'a. He had, 
therefore, a large number of men under arms, and had 
no great cause for dismay when he heard that two Burmese 
armies were on the point of invading his dominions. He 
determined immediately to attack whichever army 
arrived first. 

The Crown Prince of Burma, as it happened, was the 
first to arrive. He advanced to the village of Trap'angkru, 
north-east of Sup'an. King Naresuen, accompanied by 
his brother, took up a position at Nong Sa Rai, about 
thirty miles to the east of the Burmese army. The 
Siamese forces were greatly inferior to the Burmese 
in numbers, and the King therefore decided to await 
an attack at Nong Sa Rai, where he held a strong 

When the Burmans were reported to be advancing, 
one P'ya Sri Sai Narong was sent forward with a small 
force to reconnoitre, with orders not to allow himself 
to be engaged in action. The next morning, when the 
King and Prince were arming themselves for the expected 
conflict, shots were heard, and it was found that P'ya 
Sri Sai Narong, contrary to orders, had attacked the 
Burmese. The King sent a message to the P'ya to the 
effect that he need expect no reinforcements, but must 
get back as best he could. On receiving this message, 
P'ya Sri Sai Narong and his whole force turned and 
fled helter-skelter. The Burmese pursued them, prob- 
ably thinking that the whole Siamese army was about to 
flee. It thus came about that the tactics adopted by 
King Naresuen on a former occasion, namely to draw on 
the enemy by a feigned retreat, were on this occasion 
followed again, but unintentionally. In a short time the 


Siamese, who were fully prepared, found the whole army 
of the Burmese Crown Prince advancing against them 
hastily and in utter disorder. 

King Naresuen and his brother were both mounted on 
elephants which happened to be musth at the time. The 
noise and excitement of the Burmese onrush so maddened 
these two animals that they flung themselves furiously 
forward through the front ranks of the Burmese army ; 
almost before they knew what had happened, the King 
and the Prince found themselves, accompanied only by 
their immediate attendants, in the midst of the Burmese 
host. As soon as the elephants could be stopped, and the 
dust had subsided, the King saw, to his surprise, the 
Crown Prince of Burma (whom he had known well in 
former days) close by him, also mounted on an elephant. 
He at once called out : " Brother Prince, leave the shelter 
of that tree. Come out and fight with me, for the honour 
of our names and the wonder of future ages ! " 

The Burmese Prince had but to say a word and the 
Siamese monarch and his brother would have been 
overwhelmed and either killed or captured. Though a 
poor General, he was, however, a brave man. Scorning 
to refuse such a challenge, he drove his elephant forward, 
and the two Princes joined in single combat. The Prince 
dealt a fierce blow with his sword at the King's head. 
The latter bent in time to avoid the blow, but the leather 
cap which he was wearing was cut through. The 
elephants broke away, but were brought forward for 
a second charge. This time the Burmese Prince 
received a wound in the shoulder and fell dead from 
his elephant. 

Thus perished the unfortunate Prince Min Chit Swa. 
He was forced by his father to undertake a task for which 
he had no capacity. He was, we learn, most unwilling 


to command this last expedition. It can at least be said 
of him that he died bravely, fighting against the most 
redoubtable warrior ever produced in Siam. 1 

Prince Ekat'otsarot, in the meantime, had engaged in 
single combat with the Prince of Zaparo, whom he over- 
came and slew. 

When the Burmese realised that their Princes were 
dead, they fiercely attacked the Siamese Princes and their 
few followers. The King was wounded in the hand, and 
the two mahouts of the elephants of the King and Prince 
were both killed. By this time, however, a large body 
of Siamese troops had managed to force their way 
through the Burmese ranks, and the King and Prince 
were rescued. 

The Burmese army was thrown into a state of utter 
confusion and demoralisation by the death of the Crown 
Prince, and immediately began to retire towards the 
frontier. The Siamese did not pursue the enemy, 
firstly because the second Burmese army had arrived at 
Melamao and might have attacked them in the rear, 
and secondly because the Siamese themselves had been 
thrown into some confusion by the unforeseen turn of 

The King of Burma, on hearing of his son's death, 
decided to abandon the expedition. The Melamao army 
was recalled. 

Thus was a serious invasion repelled, with very small 
losses on both sides, through the personal valour of King 
Naresuen and his brother. It was many years before 

1 Burmese history gives a different version of these events. In particular, 
the Crown Prince's death is said to have been due to an accident. The romantic 
account given in Siamese history is, however, well authenticated. It is supported 
by the history of Pegu and by van Vliet (Beshnevung van het Komgryk Siam, 
Leyden, 1692). 

The sword and leather cap worn by King Naresuen on this occasion became 
part of the regalia of Siam, and were used by all the Kings until the fall of Ayut'ia 
in 1767. f , 


the Burmese again invaded Siam. The King caused a 
pagoda to be erected on the spot where he overcame the 
Prince of Burma. This pagoda may be seen there to 
the present day. 

The King, on returning to Ayut'ia, held an enquiry 
into the conduct of some of his Generals, whom he 
accused of gross negligence and dilatoriness, in that they 
had not followed him through the Burmese ranks. He 
proposed to punish the principal offenders by death. 
A deputation of the clergy pleaded for their pardon, 
which the King granted on one condition, namely that 
they must capture Tavoy and Tenasserim from the 

Tenasserim and Tavoy had formed a part of the 
Siamese dominions from the days of King Ramk'amheng 
of Suk'ot'ai till they were taken by the Burmese in 1568, 
at the time of the fall of Ayut'ia. Tavoy, which con- 
tained a population for the most part of non-Tai race, 
had been treated by the Siamese as a dependency or 
vassal State, under a native Prince. Tenasserim, with 
its port, Mergui, had always been an integral part of 
the Siamese dominions. 

Early in 1593 two Siamese armies, each numbering 
50,000 men, commanded by two of the erring Generals, 
Chao P'ya Chakri and P'ya P'rak'lang, left Ayut'ia for 
the south. Chao P'ya Chakri advanced to Tenasserim, 
which fell after a siege of only fifteen days. P'ya 
P'rak'lang met with rather more opposition, but after 
one sharp encounter with the Burmese and a siege of 
twenty days, he found himself master of Tavoy. 

Chao P'ya Chakri, not knowing that Tavoy had fallen, 
commandeered all the ships at Tenasserim, numbering 
about a hundred and fifty, and hastily fitted them out 
as a fleet to assist the army of P'ya P'rak'lang. At the 


same time, he himself marched north at the head of 
an army of 30,000 men. 

P'ya P'rak'lang, being in equal ignorance as to the 
result of the attack on Tenasserim, raised at Tavoy a 
fleet of about a hundred ships, which he sent to assist 
his colleague in the south. 

Chao P'ya Chakri's fleet fell in with and engaged a 
Burmese fleet of two hundred ships, which was trans- 
porting an army to Tenasserim. While this naval battle 
was in progress, P'ya P'rak'lang's fleet appeared on the 
scene. The Burmese were completely overpowered, 
several ships and more than five hundred men were 
captured, and the rest escaped as best they could back 
to the Irawadi. 

The Siamese learned from their naval prisoners that 
a strong Burmese force was advancing against Tavoy. 
All the available men were therefore at once landed. 
Chao P'ya Chakri had by this time arrived at Tavoy, and 
a combined force of about 90,000 men was thus available, 
only some 10,000 having been left behind at Tenasserim. 
With this strong force, the Siamese waited for the 
Burmese a little north of Tavoy, and completely routed 

Chao P'ya Chakri and P'ya P'rak'lang, together with 
the other Generals serving under them, were held by the 
King to have purged their offences committed during 
the last Burmese invasion. Their expedition had, 
indeed, been very successful. Tavoy and Tenasserim 
remained in the hands of the Siamese. These two towns 
were most important centres of foreign trade, which by 
this time had reached considerable proportions. It was 
very necessary for Siam, in those days of slow communi- 
cations, to hold seaports on the Indian Ocean. Apart 
from their value as doors of ingress into Siam, these 



provinces, at that time, carried on an extensive export 
trade in elephants, sappan-wood, and spices of all 

King Naresuen now felt that his realm was free from 
any immediate danger of being overrun by the Burmese. 
He therefore began to repopulate the northern provinces, 
the inhabitants of which had, for the most part, been 
removed to Ayut'ia eight years previously. By the 
end of the year 1593 we thus see Siam, owing to King 
Naresuen's energy and genius, practically restored to 
the territorial condition in which she had been when 
King Chakrap'at mounted the throne in 1549. The 
population, however, had been greatly reduced. Some 
authorities think that Siam has hardly yet regained the 
population which she possessed before her conflicts with 
Burma began in the sixteenth century. 

Chinese history relates a remarkable fact, not men- 
tioned in any Siamese documents, which clearly shows 
that at this time the Burmese danger was not thought to 
be very imminent. In the twentieth year of the reign 
of the Emperor Wanleh (thirteenth of the Ming dynasty) 
war broke out between China and Japan (1592), The 
King of Siam wrote offering to furnish an army to assist 
the Chinese, The offer was refused owing to objections 
raised by the Viceroy of Kwangtung and Kwangsi. 
It is difficult to imagine what possible reason King 
Naresuen can have had for wishing to engage in a war 
against Japan. 

As we have seen, the Burmese invasion of 1592 found 
the King of Siam on the point of leading an expedition 
against Cambodia. This postponed invasion was duly 
carried out in May 1593. 

According to the P* ongsawadan> armies numbering 
over 100,000 men were employed on this expedition, 


as well as a large fleet of boats. Cambodian history 
gives the numbers of the invading army as 50,000, 

Battambang fell without offering any real resistance. 
Pursat, under the command of P'ya Sawank'alok, 1 
held out longer, but was overwhelmed by the superior 
force of the Siamese. At Boribun, Prince Srisup'anma, 
the brother of the King of Cambodia, was stationed with 
an army of 30,000 men. The Prince fled to Lowek as 
soon as he felt that the situation was becoming critical. 
Boribun fell, and the victorious King of Siam advanced 
to the capital. Here he was joined by two other armies, 
which had advanced by northerly routes, and whose 
commanders were able to report that Siemrap, Bassac, 
and all the other important cities in the north of 
Cambodia had been captured. 

King Satt'a of Cambodia was summoned to surrender 
and swear fealty to Siam. He replied by casting the 
envoy into prison, and opening a sharp fire against the 
Siamese. A determined resistance was made by the 
Cambodians, and it was not until the month of July 
1594 that Lowek was taken by assault. Both sides 
suffered heavy losses. 

King Satt'a, with his two sons and his female relations, 
fled to northern Cambodia. The following year they 
retired into the territory of the King of Luang P'rabang, 
where King Satt'a died, an exile, in 1596. His eldest 
son did not long survive him. 1 

1 Probably a son of the Cambodian Prince who was adopted by King P'rajai, 
and who took part in the conspiracy against the usurper K'un Worawongsa in 1548. 

1 Post-Bangkok versions of Siamese history narrate that King Satt'a was 
captured and beheaded, and that King Naresuen washed his feet in the blood of 
the Cambodian monarch. The author believes this story to be a myth, for the 
following reasons : 

(a) The history of Luang Prasoet, written in 1688 less than a hundred 

years after the events in question mentions the capture of Prince Snsup'anma, 

but says nothing about King Satt'a. If both King and Prince were captured, 

it would be absurd to mention only the Prince. 


Prince Srisup'anma and his family were captured and 
taken back to Ayut'ia. A Siamese garrison was left 
at Lowek, and Cambodia was for a time placed under a 
Siamese Military Governor. 

A very large number of prisoners were brought back 
from Cambodia ; many thousands of Siamese, captured 
by King Satt'a on his various marauding expeditions, 
were also set free. This supply of man-power was very 
welcome to the King of Siam, who was, as we have seen, 
at that time trying to repopulate his northern provinces. 1 

In the same year (1594) the war with Burma was 
renewed. The brain of Nanda Bhureng, whose mental 
powers had never been of a high order, had been alto- 
gether dislocated by his repeated disasters, culminating 
in the death of the Crown Prince. He suspected all 
those around him of disloyalty, and estranged his sub- 
jects, both Burmese and members of other races, by 
committing all kinds of atrocities. 

The Peguans had never been at all devoted to Burma. 
The successes of King Naresuen encouraged them to 
hope for independence. Their efforts towards freedom 
led to massacres. The massacres drove numbers of 
people away to take refuge in Siam. The refugees 

(fe) The history of Cambodia has a fairly full account of these events. The 
capture of Pnnce Snsup'anma is mentioned, but it is stated that King Satt'a 
and his sons escaped, and their subsequent adventures are described. 

(c) Antonio de Morga (Hakluyt Soc., vol. xxxix.) gives a very full account 
of events in Cambodia at this period, compiled from the narratives of Spanish 
eye-witnesses, who themselves took an active part in the events narrated. 
Morga's account agrees in almost every detail with Cambodian history. In 
particular, he states that King Satt'a (called by him Prauncar Langara) 
together with his eldest son, died at Luang P'rabang in 1596. 

King Naresuen's fame gams in lustre by absolving him from the false charge 
of having washed his feet in the blood of his fallen foe. 

1 Morga relates that many Portuguese and Castilians were among the prisoners 
taken. They proved troublesome. One of them, a Dominican monk named 
Fray Maldonado, stirred up some sort of disturbance at Ayut'ia. Many of his 
accomplices were burnt alive. He himself, with other Spaniards and Portuguese, 
escaped by boat. They were pursued by a force of forty armed boats. A fight 
took place, which lasted for a week. The fugitives got away, after heavy losses 
on both sides. Maldonado died of his wounds. 


intrigued with their friends at home. The Peguan 
Governor of Moulmein finally raised the standard of 
rebellion. The Burmese Governor of Martaban pre- 
pared to subdue him by force. He appealed to Siam 
for aid. King Naresuen was only too pleased to assist 
him, and despatched an army of 30,000 men, which 
speedily captured Martaban. The Prince of Taungu 1 
was ordered to drive out the intruders. He attempted 
to do so, but his army was driven back by the Siamese 
and Peguans as far north as Thaton. It was not thought 
safe, however, for the comparatively small Siamese 
force to pursue the Burmese too far. They therefore 
retreated. 1 

As a result of this expedition, a large part of Pegu 
remained under the suzerainty of Siam, whereby Burma 
was greatly weakened and Siam proportionately strength- 
ened. It must not be forgotten, however, that Pegu was 
by this time, owing to continual wars, a very different 
country from what it had been in the reigns of Tabeng 
Shwe T'i and Bhureng Noung. 

During the next ten years we see Burma, far from 
invading and devastating Siam, as she had done con- 
tinuously since the year 1549, herself a prey to internal 
commotions, and ill able to act the part of an aggressor. 
Siam, on the other hand, was troubled with no internal 
broils. Her King was therefore able, for the first time 
in his reign, to pay serious attention to his home affairs. 
At this time, also, he began to cultivate the friendship 
of the Spaniards and Portuguese, who had settled in 
Siam in considerable numbers. In 1598 one Don Tello 

l This Prince was a cousin of Nanda Bhureng. He had recently succeeded 
his father, Min Khaung, brother of Bhureng Noung. 

Burmese history asserts that the Siamese were defeated by the Prince of 
Taungu on this occasion. The reader may take his choice. The results of the 
expedition appear to have been favourable to Siam. 


de Aguirrc was sent from Manila 1 to Siam on a diplo- 
matic mission. He succeeded in concluding a Treaty 
of Amity and Commerce between Spain and Siam. 
This was the second Treaty between Siam and a European 
power. As we have seen, the first, with Portugal, was 
concluded in the reign of King Rama T'ibodi II. 

In the year 1599 King Naresuen again invaded Burma. 
In order to understand the circumstances which brought 
about this invasion, we must briefly survey the tangled 
politics of Burma. In 1593 Nanda Bhureng appointed 
his son, the Prince of Ava, to be Crown Prince in the 
place of Min Chit Swa, slain by King Naresuen, and 
sent his half-brother, Nyaung Yan Min, to be Prince 
of Ava. This arrangement offended the Prince of 
Prome, who had hoped to become Crown Prince. 
Believing that his cousin, the Prince of Taungu, was 
responsible for the slight put upon him, the Prince of 
Prome invaded Taungu. He was repulsed, but on 
returning home rebelled, and declared Prome an inde- 
pendent State. In this emergency, the Prince of Ava 
did nothing to assist Nanda Bhureng. As for the Prince 
of Chiengmai, he also was in a state of rebellion, having 
declined to send one of his sons to Burma, nominally 
to be educated, but in reality to be held as a hostage for 
his fidelity. 

In 1596 The King of Arakan equipped a fleet and 
seized the port of Syriam and other coast towns in 
Burma. He then entered into negotiations with the 
Prince of Taungu, which resulted in these two potentates 
agreeing to divide Burma between themselves, and to 
invoke the aid of Siam to accomplish their purpose. 
With this end in view, they despatched envoys to King 

1 Manila was founded in 1571. The Spaniards first gained a foothold in the 
Philippines in 1565. 


Naresuen, offering him their assistance if he would 
undertake another invasion of Burma. 

In the year 1594, Prince Noh Keo, son of the former 
King Jai Jett'a of Luang P'rabang, had been sent back, 
after having been a State prisoner in Burma for about 
twenty years, to occupy the throne of Luang P'rabang. 
He at once took steps to make himself independent 
of Burma. In 1595 he quarrelled with Tharawadi Min 
of Chiengmai and incited the Chief of Nan to rebel. 
Three years later he declared war on Chiengmai and 
captured Chiengsen. The unfortunate Tharawadi Min 
was in a position of great danger. He was a foreigner, 
placed by force on the throne of Chiengmai, and could 
not look for much loyalty or support from his own 
subjects. They were far more likely to assist the King 
of Luang P'rabang, who had a strong hereditary claim 
to be their ruler. Burma was in no position to help 
him. In despair he appealed to Siam, offering to place 
his realm under Siamese suzerainty. King Naresuen 
accepted the offer, sent up an army to Chiengsen, drove 
out the invaders, and installed a Lao nobleman named 
P'ya Ram Dejo to reside at Chiengsen as a sort of 
Siamese Commissioner. 

In the light of subsequent events, it appears that this 
was a mistaken policy. King Naresuen could have easily 
annexed the whole of the Chiengmai dominions to 
Siam. Had he done so, the dawn of the seventeenth 
century would have seen him ruling over a strong and 
united Tai Empire. He missed a great opportunity, 
and as a result the northern and southern Tai drifted 
apart, and were never truly united together until about 
three hundred years later. 

In 1599 King Naresuen once more invaded Burma, 
intending this time to reduce that Kingdom to a state 


of impotence. Unfortunately he made the mistake of 
of trusting the rulers of Arakan and Taungu, who had 
promised him their help. Himself incapable of deceit 
or double dealing, he was never inclined to distrust 
others. By this time, the Prince of Taungu had decided 
that there was more to gain by acting without other 
support than that of the King of Arakan, and determined, 
if possible, to prevent a Siamese invasion of Burma. 
He therefore tried, during the whole of the year 15983 
to foment, by means of secret agents, trouble in Martaban 
and other parts of Pegu then subject to Siam. So 
successful was he that King Naresuen, who crossed into 
Pegu in the middle of 1599, found his newly won Peguan 
provinces in a state of revolt. While he was engaged 
in restoring order, an Arakanese army advanced to 
Hanthawadi, and the Prince of Taungu shortly afterwards 
led his forces to join the Arakanese before the walls of 
the capital. 

The wily Prince of Taungu represented himself to 
Nanda Bhureng as an ally. King Naresuen fondly 
imagined that he was supporting the interests of Siam. 
In reality he was acting in collusion with the King of 
Arakan, and had no other object than to gain for himself 
the supreme power in Burma. After long negotiations, 
the Crown Prince of Burma left Hanthawadi and joined 
the Prince of Taungu. He was promptly murdered. 
His death was concealed from his father, who shortly 
afterwards, despairing of being able to resist the Arakan- 
ese, and appalled at the imminent prospect of a Siamese 
invasion, flung himself into the arms of the Prince of 
Taungu. The unfortunate Nanda Bhureng was removed 
to Taungu, and his capital, Hanthawadi, was given over 
to the Arakanese, who looted it for several days, and 
finally burnt it to ashes. 


King Naresuen arrived at Hanthawadi in October 
1599 only to find that he had been hoodwinked. Nanda 
Bhureng was gone, practically a prisoner, to Taungu, 
and Hanthawadi was a smouldering heap of ruins. 

Remonstrances addressed to the Prince of Taungu 
only called forth evasive answers. King Naresuen, 
therefore, carried away by indignation, rashly decided 
to invade Taungu. 

The Siamese army had been levied and equipped for 
an expedition to Hanthawadi. No trouble in Pegu had 
been expected, and the help of the Princes of Taungu 
and Arakan had been counted upon. As things had 
turned out, valuable time had been wasted in Pegu, 
Hanthawadi was in ruins, and the expected allies had 
proved false. Taungu lay a hundred and twenty miles 
away from Hanthawadi, and was approached by a 
difficult and mountainous road. 

The invasion of Taungu was, therefore, undertaken 
under the most unfavourable conditions. The Prince of 
Arakan, it is true, again offered to help, but no reliance 
would be placed on him, and his offer was refused. The 
Siamese army was not strong enough, unaided, to capture 
Taungu. All attempts to take the city by storm failed, 
and at length, in May 1600, the siege was raised, after the 
Siamese had endured terrible sufferings from sickness 
and starvation. King Naresuen returned to Siam with 
the remnants of his army. This was his first failure. 
Yet this unsuccessful invasion of Burma was not 
utterly useless, for it was the indirect cause of the fall 
of Nanda Bhureng and the disintegration of the 
Burmese Empire. 

On his return journey the King heard of further trouble 
at Chiengmai. P'ya Ram Dejo, who had been installed 
at Chiengsen, more or less as Siamese Commissioner, 


held that his rank was at least equal to that of the Burmese 
Prince of Chiengmai. Disputes arose, and the Chiengmai 
dominions became divided into two sections, the northern 
portion governed by P'ya Ram Dejo and the southern by 
Tharawadi Min. The latter complained to King Nare- 
suen, who sent up Prince Ekat'otsarot to settle the 
dispute. This was done entirely to the satisfaction of 
the Prince of Chiengmai, no support being given to the 
pretensions of P'ya Ram Dejo. 

This incident well illustrates the honourable character 
of King Naresuen, By encouraging P'ya Ram Dejo, or 
even by letting matters take their own course, a position 
would have been brought about which would have 
rendered it an easy matter to annex the whole dominions 
of Chiengmai to Siam. Tharawadi Min had, however, 
placed himself under the protection of Siam, and had 
since acted as a loyal vassal. King Naresuen therefore 
supported him, even though it was strongly against his 
own interest to do so. 

Before returning to Siam, King Naresuen installed 
one P'ya Dala 1 as Siamese Governor of Martaban. 

During the next four years Siam and Burma were at 
peace. This was owing to the disturbed condition of 
Burma, which rendered that country quite incapable of 
any serious acts of aggression. The ill-starred Nanda 
Bhureng, after being kept at Taungu for over eight 
months as a puppet ruler under the leading-strings of his 
faithless cousin, was poisoned in December 1600 at the 
instigation of the eldest son of his captor, thus bringing 
to a tragic end an inglorious reign. The Prince of 
Taungu claimed to be his successor ; but two other sons 
of Bhureng Noung were ruling, at Prome and Ava 
respectively, as independent sovereigns. The Prince of 

1 Dala : A small town on the Irawadi, opposite Rangoon. 


Ava, Nyaung Yan Min, was generally regarded as the 
rightful heir to the crown of Burma, A coalition by the 
Princes of Taungu and Prome against him failed, owing 
to the death of the latter by drowning whilst fleeing from 
an attack by rebels. A usurper was set up as Prince of 
Prome, and Burma thus remained split up into three 
realms Ava, Taungu, and Prome over all three of 
which, however, the Prince of Ava claimed the right to 
rule. In 1603 he caused himself to be crowned as King 
of Burma, with the title of Sihasu T'ammaraja. 

While outwardly at peace with Burma, Siam became, 
in the year 1603, once more involved in Cambodian 
affkirs. Since the expulsion of King Satt'a in 1593 there 
had been several rulers of Cambodia, and each of them 
had been found wanting. In 1602 the throne was 
occupied by a young wastrel named Keo Fa, whose rule 
was so detestable that the Queen-mother, supported 
by almost the whole nation, applied to King Naresuen 
to send back Prince Srisup'anma to rule over them. 
This prayer was granted. Prince Srisup'anma returned 
to Cambodia, and established his control with the aid of 
a Siamese army of 6,000 men. 1 

This King of Cambodia remained a faithful vassal of 
Siam until his death in 1618. He introduced into his 
Kingdom Siamese customs, garb and ceremonial. 

By 1604 the whole of Pegu was under Siamese control, 
and out of the nineteen Shan States, three, namely 
Hsenwi, Muang Hang and Miiang Nai, had likewise 
placed themselves under the protection of King Naresuen, 

1 These events are taken from the history of Cambodia, which, however, omits 
all mention of Siamese military intervention. 

Morga (Hakluyt Soc., vol. xxxix.) supports the Cambodian historian, and 
mentions that an army of 6,000 was sent by the King of Siam to Cambodia. 

Luang Prasoet's history says : " In the year 965 (1603) the army of the P'rachao 
Fai Na went and took Cambodia." It has been suggested that the " P'rachao 
Fai Na " was a son of King Naresuen. Contemporary writers, however, agree 
in stating that this King had no children. The " P'rachao Fai Na " was probably 
Prince Ekat'otsarot. 


whose influence thus extended to the confines of China. 
The remaining Shan States had been practically independ- 
ent since the break-up of Nanda Bhureng's Empire. 
The King of Ava determined to regain control over 
Burma's lost Shan possessions. This was effected with 
ease until Miiang Nai was reached. The Sawbwa 1 of 
that State appealed to Siam for aid. King Naresuen, 
at the head of 100,000 men, marched northwards on his 
last campaign. 

At Chiengmai large reinforcements were forthcoming, 
and the King crossed the Salween in April 1605 with an 
army of some 200,000 men. 

On arriving at Miiang Hang the King fell ill, with a 
carbuncle on his cheek. Realising that his end was near, 
he sent hastily for his brother, who was still at Mtlang 
Fang. Prince Ekat'otsarot set out at once for Mtiang 
Hang. Three days after his arrival there, on May the 
1 6th, 1605, King Naresuen breathed his last. " They 
were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in death they 
were not divided." 

The little town of Miiang Hang is known to-day as a 
local centre of the teak industry, and enjoys also some 
reputation as a miniature Monte Carlo. Few of those 
who resort there for business or pleasure reflect that in 
Mtlang Hang died the greatest warrior who ever sat upon 
the throne of Siam. 

King Naresuen was certainly a great man, and a King 
whose memory all Siamese may well hold in honour. 
His death, at the early age of fifty, was an inestimable 
loss to his country. 

The new King, Ekat'otsarot, abandoned the expedition 

'The Shan title of Sawbwa is the same as the Siamese " Chao Fa," meaning 
Celestial Prince ; in Siam the title is reserved for sons of the King by a wife of 
Royal blood. 

* Strictly sub rosa. Public gambling is not allowed in the Shan States. 


into the Shan States, and took back his brother's remains 
to cremate at Ayut'ia. Hsenwi, Mtiang Nai and Miiang 
Hang fell once more under Burmese domination. But 
the King of Ava did not long survive his adversary ; he 
fell ill and died on the return journey from the Shan 
States, and Maha T'ammaraja, his son, reigned in his 



KING EKAT'OTSAROT, though he had been known during 
his brother's reign as a capable General, proved, as King, 
to be a man of peace. During his short reign of five 
years, the White King, as he was called by European 
writers, devoted his time more to the reorganisation of the 
finances of Siam than to warlike pursuits. He thus 
gained among foreigners the reputation of being a 
" covetous man/ 

We learn from Siamese history that this King imposed 
a new tax, the exact nature of which is not known. It 
appears to have been a tax on shops and markets, and was 
probably one of the first money taxes to be levied in Siam. 
The earliest form of taxation was the " tribute,' 1 sent by 
provinces or feudatory states to the King. Such tribute 
might be merely nominal such, for instance, as the gold 
and silver trees sent by some of the Malay Rajas even 
during the present century or actual, such as supplies of 
timber, rice or fruits. In later years it became usual to 
make cash payments, not only in commutation of these 
" tributes " but also in commutation of personal services 
due by individuals to the Government. 

It seems probable that King Ekat'otsarot's shop and 
market tax was the first tax levied regularly in cash, and 
perhaps it was this new system of taxation which gained 
for hiin the reputation of a " covetous man." 


In King Ekat'otsarot's reign, Dutch ships and Dutch 
merchants began to visit Siam, and in the year 1608 
Siamese ambassadors were sent to Holland and were 
received in audience by Prince Maurice of the 

Friendly relations were also maintained with the 
Portuguese; In 1606 the first Portuguese Jesuit mis- 
sionary, Balthazar de Sequeira, arrived at Ayut'ia. He 
had an exciting journey overland from Tenasserim, 
meeting on the way with " Rhinoceros, elephants and 
tigers, one of which latter tare in pieces one of his 
company before his eyes." 

In the same year a Siamese embassy was sent to the 
Portuguese Viceroy at Goa. 

During this reign a very large number of Japanese 
settled in Siam. They were well received by the 
King, who instituted a body-guard of Japanese, 
under the leadership of Yamada Nagamasa, who 
afterwards took so prominent a part in the history 
of the Kingdom. 

On the advice of Yamada, friendly relations were 
opened between the King of Siam and the Shogun of 
Japan, lyeyesu Minamoto. Compliments and presents 
were exchanged on several occasions. It is interesting 
to note that the Shogun was very anxious to procure 
firearms and ammunition from Siam, and expressed the 
opinion that Siamese gunpowder was of " surprisingly 
good quality/ 1 

King Ekat'otsarot, towards the end of his reign, 
appointed his eldest son, Prince Sut'at, to be Maha 
Uparat. The young Prince had not held this appoint- 
ment for long when he was accused by one P'ya Nai Wai 
of plotting to gain possession of the throne. The King 
appears at this time to have been to some extent mentally 


afflicted. He caused his son to be executed. 1 Shortly 
afterwards, a prey to remorse, he himself died, about the 
end of i6io. 

To judge by Siamese records, one might form rather a 
high opinion of King Ekat'otsarot, but contemporary 
foreign writers represent him as an odious man, cruel, 
greedy and suspicious. 

King Ekat'otsarot was succeeded by Prince Int'araja, 
one of his sons by an inferior wife. This Prince had for 
some time been a Buddhist priest, and bore the name of 
P'ra Wimon T'am (Vimaladhamma). He is usually 
known as King Songt'am the Just King. 1 

The new King's first act was to order the execution of 
P'ya Nai Wai, whom he regarded as responsible for the 
death of Prince Sut'at. Two hundred and eighty Japanese 
were among the adherents of P'ya Nai Wai. They at 
once rebelled, forced their way into the King's private 
apartments, and compelled him to sign in his own blood 

1 Siamese history says that the Prince poisoned himself, on being accused by 
his father of disloyalty. P. W. Flons (Astley's Voyages, vol. i.), says that the 
King " lying on his deathbed, caused his son to be slain." Turpin (History of 
Stam, Pans, 1771) says : " The King pronounced sentence of death on his 
innocent son." Flons was in Siam very shortly after the event in question. 

1 It might be supposed that an event so recent as the death of King Ekat'otsarot 
could be dated with absolute certainty. There exists, however, very conflicting 
evidence on this point, which has led some authorities to suppose that this King 
died in 1620. After examining all evidence available, the author has no hesitation 
in accepting 1610 as the correct date. 

The Siamese P'ongsawadan says that Ekat'otsarot was succeeded by his 
son, Prince Saowap'ak, who was blind in one eye. This King was deposed and 
executed by " P'ra Sn Sin," who was a pnest under the name of P'ra Wimon 
T'am, and who became King Songt'am. 

No contemporary European writers mention such a King as Saowap'ak. It 
is clear from the wn tings of van Vliet and Floris that King Songt'am was the 
son of King Ekat'otsarot, and succeeded him on the throne. This is further 
borne out by Turpin and G. Heylyn (Cosmo graphic, London, 1664). Other 
evidence is also available. 

The Pali version of Siamese history, translated by Professor G. Coedes, likewise 
represents King Ekat'otsarot as being immediately succeeded by his son Int'araja 

The P* ongsawadan' s unsupported evidence on this point is of little value, as 
most of the other statements made therein are wrong. For instance, the compilers 
were not even aware that King Songt'am was a son of King Ekat'otsarot. More- 
over, they confounded him with his younger brother, Prince Sri Sin, who never 
became King. (See next chapter.) 

It is possible that it was Prince Sri Sin, and not King Songt'am, who was a 
priest under the name of P'ra Wimon T'am. 


an ignominious treaty accepting all the conditions which 
they saw fit to impose. These included the surrender of 
four prominent officials who had rendered themselves 
obnoxious to the Japanese, the grant of various residential 
and commercial privileges, and the delivery to the insur- 
gents of some of the chief priests as security for the per- 
formance of the King's promises. The unfortunate 
officials, on being surrendered to the Japanese, were 
immediately massacred. 

The Japanese then sacked the town of Ayut'ia, and 
44 so departed with great treasure, after much violence." 1 
They proceeded to P'etchaburi, where their leader set 
himself up almost like an independent King. 

The confusion into which the Kingdom had been 
thrown by the excesses of the Japanese was further 
aggravated by an invasion of the King of Luang P'rabang, 
P'ra Wongsa. The Luang P'rabang army advanced as 
far as Lopburi, their ostensible object being to expel the 
Japanese. King Songt'am was not to be imposed upon 
by this pretext. He managed to collect a large army, and 
first attacked the Japanese at P'etchaburi, driving them 
out of that stronghold. He then, on April 5th, 1612, 
gave battle to the Luang P'rabang forces and defeated 
them. The whole Luang P'rabang army fled in disorder, 
and King Wongsa himself narrowly escaped capture. 
He was forced to abandon his elephant, which fell into 
the hands of the Siamese, but he managed to flee on 

It would appear that the " Just King " did not 
repudiate entirely the promises which he had made, 
under duress, to the Japanese. They were not all ex- 
pelled from the Kingdom, and later in this reign we find 
that a Japanese body-guard was still employed in the 

1 Floris. 



palace, under the command of Yamada, who was in 
high favour, and bore the title of P'ya Senap'imuk. 1 

The year 1612 was a noteworthy one in another respect. 
The first English commercial establishment in Siam was 
opened in that year. Dutch merchants had opened a 
factory a few years previously. 

The first British ship, the Globe> anchored in the 
harbour of Patani on the 23rd of June, 1612. She was 
commanded by Captain Anthony Hippon, and had on 
board Peter Williamson Floris and other merchants. 
A factory was opened at Patani, and the Globe then went 
on to Ayut'ia, arriving there on the I5th of August. 

On September lyth, 1612, the English factors were 
received in audience by the King, and presented to him a 
letter from King James I. The Siamese monarch was 
extremely gratified, and gave to each of the factors a 
little golden cup and a piece of clothing. The East 
India Company founded factories at Ayut'ia and at 
Patani before the end of that year. 

Foreign traders British, Dutch, Portuguese and 
Japanese were very active in Siam throughout this 
reign. King Songt'am deserves, in fact, to be regarded 
as the first King of modern Siam, for it was under him 
that the habit of free intercourse with foreign Powers 
became well established. The policy thus inaugurated 
by him has been adhered to by all the rulers of Siam 
down to the present day. 

1 Prince Damrong has suggested the following very probable explanation 
of the favour shown to the Japanese, in spite of their excesses. There were a 
number of peaceable Japanese settlers in Siam, from among whom the body- 
guard was recruited. There was also a gang of more or less piratical " birds of 
passage." These were the people who attacked King Songt'am's palace. They 
were prooably expelled from the Kingdom, doubtless with the aid of their more 
loyal fellow-countrymen. 

At that time Japanese pirates were a pest all over the Far East. In December 
1605 the English navigator, John Davis, lost his life in a fight with Japanese 
pirates off Patani. In the same year, and again in 1610, the King of Cambodia 
complained to the Shogun of Japan of the acts of piracy committed by Japanese 
traders in his realm. 


Foreign trade was placed under the control of the 
P'rak'lang, or Minister of the Treasury and Finance, and 
most of the business came ultimately to be transacted by 
him, or by one of his subordinates, acting on behalf of 
the King. The King himself was thus the principal 
import and export merchant in the country. The result 
of this was not so inconvenient as it would be in a modern 
State, since all the revenues of the country were, in any 
case, the personal property of the King, and by making 
large direct profits through trading, he was, presumably, 
able to manage with a proportionately smaller amount 
of revenue derived from taxation. 

In the year 1612 there was further trouble with Burma. 
In 1602 a certain Portuguese adventurer, Philip de 
Brito, had been sent by the King of Arakan on an official 
mission to the town of Syriam. De Brito succeeded, by 
force and by guile, in making himself, in a few years, an 
independent sovereign. In 1612 de Brito allied himself 
with D'ya Dala, the Governor of the Siamese possessions in 
Pegu, for the purpose of attacking Taungu. This attack 
was presumably made under Siamese auspices, in order to 
punish Natchin Noung, the young Prince of Taungu, 
who had succeeded his father in 1607. Natchin Noung 
had, if we trust Siamese history, placed himself under the 
protection of Ayut'ia, but had, not long afterwards, made 
a complete submission to the King of Ava. He had not 
much choice in the matter, as Maha T'ammaraja of Ava 
had appeared before the walls of Taungu at the head of 
an overwhelming force. De Brito had entered into an 
alliance with Natchin Noung, and he regarded the sub- 
mission of his ally to Ava as an act of treachery to himself. 
He therefore gladly joined with P'ya Dala, to avenge the 
supposed wrongs of the King of Siam as well as his own. 
Taungu was captured, and the Prince taken away a 


prisoner to Syriam, But P'ya Dala and de Brito quar- 
relled over the spoils, and when, before the end of the same 
year (1612), the King of Ava attacked Syriam, de Brito 
was left to defend himself unaided. His own subjects 
hated him, for he was a fanatical Catholic, and had 
treated the Buddhist religion with the vilest contempt. 
They admitted the Burmese army by night, in April 
1613. De Brito was executed, with fearful tortures, and 
the unfortunate Prince of Taungu also fell a victim to the 
vengeance of the King of Ava. P'ya Dala, thinking that 
his turn would certainly come next, made full submission 
to the conqueror. Thus Siam lost, almost without 
knowing it, most of the Peguan possessions which King 
Naresuen had won by so much hard fighting. 

Later in 1613 the Siamese managed, by way of retalia- 
tion, to strike a shrewd blow at the King of Ava or of 
Burma, as he may from now onwards fairly be called. 
One of the King's brothers, the Sagaing Prince, was sent 
as Governor of Re (or Ye), a town not far to the north of 
Tavoy. The Governor of Tavoy made a surprise attack 
on Re, captured the Burmese Prince, and sent him as a 
prisoner to Ayut'ia. 

The King of Burma immediately attacked and captured 
Tavoy. He then went on to Tenasserim, but the Siamese 
were ready for him, and with the aid of some Portuguese 
mercenaries they drove him off with considerable loss 
(January 1614), They then retook Tavoy. This placed 
Siam in what was at that time her normal territorial 
condition. Pegu was but a trophy of war. Tavoy was 
then regarded as Siamese soil. 

As previously mentioned, Tharawadi Min, the Burmese 
Prince of Chiengmai, had, in 1595, placed himself under 
Siamese protection, and ever since that year the Chieng- 
mai dominions had been more or less dependent upon 


Siam. In 1607 the old Prince died, after a reign of 
nearly twenty-eight years. His eldest son, who suc- 
ceeded him, died in 1609. The second son, after a brief 
reign, was forced by the Chiengmai nobles to abdicate, 
and the youngest son, Thadogyaw, became Prince of 
Chiengmai in 1611. 

The King of Burma now determined to re-annex 
Chiengmai. It may easily be supposed that the spectacle 
of a family so nearly related to himself ruling Chiengmai 
as vassals of the King of Siam was extremely galling. He 
first tried to split up the Chiengmai dominions by in- 
stalling one P'ya Chaban as Prince of Chiengsen, under 
Burmese tutelage ; later, in 1614, he invaded Chiengmai, 
in order to depose the young Prince Thadogyaw. The 
latter, for some reason, abandoned the city of Chiengmai, 
choosing rather to protect his throne by fortifying and 
defending Lamp'ang. The siege was long and arduous, 
and would have resulted in a Burmese defeat had not the 
Chief of Nan lent his aid at the critical moment, supplying 
provisions of which the besiegers were in urgent need. 
The young Prince died during the siege, or according to 
some accounts, was executed by the King of Burma when 
Lamp'ang fell, 1 and the Chief of Nan was installed to 
rule Chiengmai as a vassal of Burma. 

Among the prisoners taken by the Burmese on this 
occasion was an Englishman named Thomas Samuel, 
who had been living at Chiengmai for a few years as 
Agent of the East India Company. He was taken to 
Pegu, where he died not long afterwards. 

Siamese history records no attempt to assist the Prince 
of Chiengmai. From foreign sources, however, we 
gather that a Siamese army was sent to the north. It 

1 The trouble in those days was that you were certain to be regarded as a 
traitor by one King or another. 


arrived, we must suppose, too late to save Lamp'ang, but 
during the next few years hostilities between the Burmese 
and Siamese were maintained in the Chiengmai dominions, 
as a result of which foreign trade in those regions came to 
a standstill. 

The monarchs of both the rival Kingdoms made a bid 
for Portuguese assistance. The King of Portugal, 
writing to his Viceroy in India in January 16*8, said : 
" The King of Siam offers Martaban, which at present 
he does not possess, and he of Ava the spoils of Arakan, 
which he does not either hold in his power/* The 
Viceroy was therefore ordered to temporise with both 
combatants, entertaining them with hopes, and " drawing 
from each what may be obtained for the State." 

Perhaps the two Kings got tired of being played with 
by the wily Portuguese, for in the year 1618 they con- 
cluded a peace, or rather a truce, the terms of which 
included a stipulation that Burma was to relinquish 
all claims to Chiengmai, and that Siam was to cede 
Martaban to Burma. 

The Chief of Nan continued to rule Chiengmai under 
Siamese tutelage. 

King Songt'am acted wisely in composing his dif- 
ferences with Burma, for danger was now threatening him 
on his eastern frontier. 

King Srisup'anma of Cambodia died in 1 6 1 8 . He had 
remained faithful to his oath, and had never attempted to 
throw off the Siamese yoke, though he must often have 
felt tempted to do so when Siam was in difficulties. 1 His 
eldest son, Jai Jett'a,who succeeded him, did not apply 
for Siamese authority to assume the crown, but signalised 
his accession by proclaiming Cambodian independence. 

1 Floris says that Cambodia rebelled in 1612, at the time of the Luang P'rabang 
invasion. No mention of this is to be found elsewhere. 


Before describing the war which resulted from the 
revolt of Cambodia, it may interest English readers to 
learn that in 1618, on the outbreak of war between 
England and Holland, hostilities were carried on by 
these rival Powers in Siamese territory, regardless of such 
details as breaches of neutrality. On July I7th, 1619, 
three Dutch men-of-war, manned by 800 men, attacked 
two British ships, the Sampson and the Hound, in the 
harbour of Patani. " After fiue hours' fight, eleuen of 
the men of the Samson were slaine outright, and fiue and 
thirtie men of the same ship were wounded, maymed 
and dismembered. Captain Jordan was Captaine of the 
Samson, and did hang up a flagge of truce, and withall 
sent Thomas Hackwell to parlee with the Netherlanders 
about a peace." While the negotiations were going on, 
Captain Jourdain, suspecting no treachery, showed him- 
self on the deck of the Sampson, whereupon the Dutch, 
" espying him, most treacherously and cruelly shot at 
him with a musket, and shot him in the bodie neere the 
heart, of which wound hee dyed within half an houre 

The two ships were seized by the Dutch, and a great 
many English were taken prisoners. They were treated 
with great barbarity, numbers of them being sent to 
Japan in chains. The English on shore were only saved 
from massacre by the intervention of the Queen of 

Early in 1620 peace was restored, but a great deal of 
rivalry and ill-feeling persisted between the English and 
the Dutch in Siam. $ The numbers of both nations were, 

1 Purchas, His Pilgrims, vol. i. 

* It is stated that Patani was at that time always ruled by a woman. There 
was certainly a Queen of Patani in 1679, who can hardly have been the same one 
mentioned here. 

It is delightful to reflect that jealousy between rival Powers is utterly unknown 
in Siam at the present time. 


however, not long afterwards greatly decreased owing to 
the closing of their factories at Patani and Ayut'ia, which 
had been found unprofitable. 

King Songt'am, so far as we know, took no exception 
to this fighting between foreigners at Patani. When, 
however, liberties of this kind were taken nearer to his 
capital, he was quite ready to take action. We learn from 
van Vliet that in 1624 the Portuguese captured a Nether- 
lands yacht in Siamese waters. The King compelled the 
Portuguese to restore the yacht, and from that time 
onwards treated all the Portuguese residents in Siam with 
marked disfavour. In 1628 a Siamese junk was sunk by 
the Portuguese, and at the time of King Songt'am's death, 
at the end of that year, a state of war existed between 
Siam and Portugal. 

We must now retrace our steps to describe the 
Cambodian war. 

In 1622 King Songt'am undertook an invasion of 
Cambodia, in order to reduce King Jai Jett'a to sub- 
mission. Two large armies were fitted out, one being 
despatched by water and the other by land. The King 
himself accompanied the land army. ' ' After the Armada 
(consisting of many armed galleys and ships of less 
importance) had been lying for a long time in the river of 
Cambodia (without going into action or doing anything), 
it returned again. The Cambodians, encouraged by the 
departure of the Siamese boats, went to meet the army 
which came by land. They united in the valleys and low 
fields and by false guides brought the Siamese from the 
good roads. They attacked the Siamese and many 
thousands of men were slain. Many great men, elephants 
and horses were slain in that unfortunate battle. The 
Cambodians took about 250 living elephants/' 1 

*Van Vliet. 


From this time until the end of his reign King 
Songt'am's whole foreign policy was directed towards 
obtaining foreign aid for a further invasion of Cambodia. 
Neither the English nor the Dutch, however, appear to 
have entertained very friendly feelings towards the King. 
A good deal of polite correspondence was exchanged, 
presents were sent to His Majesty, but no materia 
assistance was forthcoming. As for the " Portugals," 
Siam was at this time on very bad terms with their country, 
and during the last few years of King Songt'am's reign 
most of them were languishing in Siamese prisons. 

In the end Cambodia was left alone. 

In the year 1626 the arrangement, made in 1617, 
whereby Chiengmai was not to be interfered with by 
Burma, was infringed by the Burmese. The two 
brothers of King Maha T'ammaraja of Burma were 
engaged in an expedition destined to subdue Kengrung 
and Luang P'rabang, and they took the opportunity, 
while passing through Chiengmai territory, to impose 
once more the Burmese yoke upon the sorely tried 

King Songt'am kept up friendly intercourse with the 
Shogun of Japan during his whole reign. It is curious 
to find that he was extremely anxious to obtain " noble 
steeds " from Japan. The modern breed of Japanese 
ponies is not very much admired. One remark made by 
the Shogun, in a letter dated September 1623, is 
worthy of preservation. After telling King Songt'am 
not to hesitate for a moment if he desired to exterminate 
any Japanese merchants in Cambodia who might venture 
to assist the Cambodians in resisting Siam, he says : 
" Merchants are fond of gain and given up to greed, and 
abominable fellows of this kind ought not to escape 


In Siam itself King Songt'am's name is chiefly re- 
membered on account of the discovery, in his reign, of 
the P'rabat, or supposed footprint of Buddha, at the foot 
of a hill to the north-east of Ayut'ia, now known as the 
P'rabat mountain. Whether this gigantic footprint was 
an ancient carved P'rabat, which was merely rediscovered 
at that time, or whether it was a natural indentation in 
the rock, and has since been touched up, can never now 
be known. Few modern Buddhists believe that the 
great Teacher was of superhuman stature. Nevertheless 
this curious relic is entitled to respect, as an object 
venerated by many generations of pious Buddhists. 
Even at the present time thousands flock every year, in 
the month of February, to worship on the P'rabat 

It is not certain whether any Maha Uparat was 
appointed by King Songt'am, but it is probable that his 
younger brother, Prince Sri Sin, held this position, since 
all contemporary writers regarded him as the lawful heir 
to the throne. When, however, towards the end of the 
year 1628, the King fell seriously ill, the question of the 
succession gave rise to a great deal of intrigue. One 
party, headed by P'ya Kalahom, was in favour of 
Prince Sri Sin. P'ya Sri Worawong, the King's 
cousin, espoused the cause of Prince Jett'a, the 
King's eldest son, aged fifteen. Both parties tried to 
enlist the sympathies of Yamada, now known as P'ya 
Senap'imuk, and his 600 Japanese, Yamada, while 
putting P'ya Kalahom off with evasive answers, was 
secretly in league with P'ya Sri Worawong. 

In the end, the dying monarch, blinded by natural 
affection, /proclaimed his son as his successor, thereby, 
as will be seen, sealing the doom of his whole family. 
Having taken this fatal step, King Songt'am died, aged 


only thirty-eight, on the 22nd December, 1628, to the 
great regret of his subjects. 

Van Vliet tells us that King Songt'am, who was 
personally known to him, was good, liberal, fond of study, 
not warlike, but devoted to religion. He gave up most of 
his time to religious and ecclesiastical affairs, and to the 
laws of the Kingdom. He was generous to the priests 
and to the poor, and repaired or constructed more temples 
than any previous Kings. He kept great state, and liked 
to see his nobles live magnificently. Foreigners and 
Siamese alike sang his praises, and regarded him as a good 
and just ruler, almost as a saint. l 

Siam was not to see his like again for many years. 

1 Turpin, writing 140 years later, describes King Songt'am as a " crowned 
monster," and attributes to him the most fearful barbarities. Turpin quotes 
no authority, and has probably confounded King Songt'am with King Prasat 
T'ong, who was quite capable of committing the cruelties which Turpin attributes 
to King Songt'am. 



THE young King Jett'a, aged only fifteen, was a mere 
puppet in the hands of P'ya Sri Worawong. His 
accession, already unpopular, was rendered more so by a 
series of brutal murders. P'ya Kalahom and all his 
principal supporters fell victims to the fury of P'ya Sri 
Worawong. An unsuccessful bid for popular favour 
was made by the pardon of numerous criminals on the 
occasion of the coronation, P'ya Sri Worawong himself 
assumed the title and office of P'ya Kalahom, and made 
his younger brother P'ya Sri Worawong. 

The Kalahom had had a very remarkable career. He 
was born about the year 1600, being a son of P'ya Sri 
T'ammat'irat, a Royal Chamberlain, whose younger 
sister was the mother of King Songt'am, and he was thus 
the cousin of that monarch. In his youth he was known 
as P'raong Lai. From a humble position he rose to be, 
at the age of eighteen, Chief Page to King Songt'am. 
He was always in trouble and disgrace. On one occasion 
he was imprisoned for attacking the Mock King at the 
Ploughing Festival, 1 Later he was implicated in a plot 

1 Some contemporary writers say that he was of Royal blood, and the title 
P'raong Lai seems to bear this out. There is a story to the effect that he was an 
unacknowledged son of King Ekat'otsarot, born at Bangpain. He was given 
a title by that monarch at the early age of sixteen, which shows that he enjoyed 
high favour. Even in his lifetime there seems to have been some doubt about 
his origin. 

This ancient Brahminical ceremony is still performed every year. A high 
official acts as " Mock King " and in former times really exercised, during the 
festivities, some of the Royal powers. His person was inviolable. To attack 
him was thus a most heinous offence. 


against King Songt'am's brothers, Prince Sri Sin and 
Prince T'ong. After spending several years in prison, he 
was released in 1622, and greatly distinguished himself in 
the unfortunate expedition to Cambodia in that year. A 
year later he was discovered in an intrigue with one of the 
ladies of Prince Sri Sin, and went back to gaol. On his 
release he appears to have been tamed to some extent. He 
was made P'ya Sri Worawong, and was high in the favour 
of King Songt'am during the last few years of his reign. 

It will be observed that he had good reasons for oppos- 
ing the accession of Prince Sri Sin to the throne. But 
the exclusion of the Prince was not enough. The new 
Kalahom was determined on his destruction. The 
Prince had taken the precaution of becoming a priest. 
Yamada undertook the unworthy task of luring him away 
from his sanctuary. He visited the Prince and persuaded 
him that the Japanese troops would aid him to seize the 
throne. Believing this, the Prince discarded the yellow 
robe. He was at once seized and condemned to die. 
He was sent to P'etchaburi, and there cast into a pit to 
perish of starvation. 

One of the Prince's adherents, Luang Mongkon, 
rescued him in a very remarkable manner. He dug 
another pit, communicating with the one in which the 
Prince was confined. The corpse of a slave was intro- 
duced by night, and dressed in the Prince's clothes, while 
the Prince escaped. The guards, thinking their prisoner 
dead, filled up the pit with earth, and reported to Ayut'ia 
that Prince Sri Sin was dead and buried. l 

Prince Sri Sin then managed to raise a large force, 
seized several cities, and was crowned as King of Siam. 
In the end he was, however, defeated and captured. 

1 This is van Vliet's account. The incident is related in rather a different 
form in the book called Tht Statement of K'un Luang Ha Wat. 


Before meeting his death, which was inflicted in the 
usual way, by beating him to death with a sandalwood 
club, he solemnly warned the young King against trusting 
P'ya Kalahom. 1 

Luang Mongkon, after making a vain attempt to murder 
P'ya Kalahom, was also executed. He was a man of 
Herculean strength, and before dying, managed to burst 
his chains, strangle one executioner, and very nearly 
accounted for another. He had been offered his life 
if he would enter the King's service. " How can I do 
so ? " he asked. " The King is dead." One is grateful 
to van Vliet for having preserved the name of this 
brave man. 

After the removal of Prince Sri Sin, King Jett'a was 
encouraged by P'ya Kalahom to indulge in all kinds of 
folly and dissipation, until everyone was thoroughly 
tired of him. 

He had been less than two years on the throne when the 
end came. P'ya Kalahom, little by little, had been 
usurping the external trappings of Royalty. The limit 
was reached when he cremated the body of his deceased 
mother 1 in a style equal to that usual at a Royal cremation, 
and caused all the principal functionaries to attend. 
The young King's jealousy was at length aroused, and he 
uttered the most violent threats against P'ya Kalahom. 
The latter, professing to think himself in danger, called 
together all his supporters and attacked the palace. The 
King's partisans were defeated, and he himself fled to 
a temple. He was captured and executed, together with 
his mother. Before dying, he bitterly reproached P'ya 

1 One is reminded of the warning of Queen Margaret to Queen Elizabeth 
(Woodvffle). Richard ///, act i., scene 3 : 

" Why strew'st thou honey on that bottled spider 
Whose deadly web ensnareth thee about ? 
Fool ! Fool ! Thou whet'st a knife to kill thyself." 

1 Van Vliet says it was his father's cremation. 


Kalahom, and accused him of having poisoned King 
Songt'am very probably a true accusation. P'ya 
Kamp'engram, who was supposed to have designs upon 
the throne, was also executed not long after. 

Having thus got rid of the King and of P'ya Kamp'eng- 
ram, P'ya Kalahom was disgusted to find the steps to the 
throne barred by his accomplice Yamada. The wily 
Japanese had supported the claims of P'ya Kamp'engram 
to the throne, and had displayed great grief when his 
nominee was executed. He now insisted upon setting 
up as King the little Prince At'ityawong, a younger son 
of King Songt'am, aged only ten. 

P'ya Kalahom determined to get Yamada out of the 
way. The Governor of Nak'on Srit'ammarat was 
accused of rebellion, and Yamada and his Japanese were 
sent down to subdue him. Yamada was at the same time 
authorised to assume the position of Governor of Nak'on 
Srit'ammarat. He was speedily successful, and, happy 
in his new position as ruler of a semi-independent 
province, was content, for the time being, to refrain from 
interfering with the ambitious designs of P'ya Kalahom. 

The " bottled spider " first caused himself to be 
crowned as Regent, and compelled the young King to 
enter a monastery, whence he was, however, quickly 
removed in order to be clubbed to death, after a reign of 
little more than a month. 1 The poor boy piteously 
denounced the cruelty of the man who had set him on a 
throne only to deprive him of his life ; but there was no 
mercy to be expected from a monster who 
but his own ambition. 

P'ya Kalahom now became King, 
history as King Prasat T'ong the Kij^p^fhe Golden S T 

1 According to Siamese history, At'ityawong was 
after a rebellion in which he was implicated. Van 
eye-witness, must be believed on this point. 


Palace. He was the first monarch since the foundation 
of Ayut'ia, with the single exception of K'unWorawongsa, 
who must frankly be called a usurper, for he had no kind 
of hereditary claim to the throne. 1 

The usurper's position, at the beginning of his reign> 
was none too secure. He was at war with Portugal, and 
one of his first acts was to clap every Portuguese in the 
Kingdom into gaol, where they remained for three years. 
Nak'on Srit'ammarat was in a disturbed condition. 
Yamada had been poisoned shortly after becoming Gover- 
nor, and his son, Oin Yamada, was engaged in hostilities 
with the party of the ex-Governor. After many vicis- 
situdes, he and most of his Japanese retired to Cambodia. 
Thence they shortly returned to Ayut'ia, accompanied 
by a large number of Japanese who had been expelled 
from the capital in 1629. The usurper did not at all 
approve of the presence of all these Japanese, rightly 
thinking that those who had helped to put him on the 
throne might as easily put him down again. 8 He 
therefore made up his mind to be rid of the turbulent 
Japanese once for all. The Japanese quarter of Ayut'ia 
was suddenly attacked by night, during the flood season 
of 1632. Many of the Japanese were ruthlessly butchered, 
but a large number of them escaped by boat. They 
were pursued by the Siamese, and a sharp fight was kept 
up from Ayut'ia down to the sea, with heavy losses on 
both sides. The majority of the Japanese made good 
their escape to Cambodia. 

The usurper's resentment against the Japanese was 
perhaps further inflamed by the fact that the Shogun of 
Japan had refused to recognise him, and had declined 

1 Unless we accept the story that he was a natural son of King Ekat'otsarot. 

1 Van VUet says that the Japanese " were not afraid to declare that they would 
seize the King on his throne. 


to receive his envoys. In Japan it had long been the 
established custom for the Emperors to live in seclusion, 
while others reigned in their name. Scrupulous respect 
was, however, shown to their persons. A man who had 
ruthlessly slain the rightful heirs to the throne, and had 
usurped the title, as well as the power, of King, was 
looked upon in Japan as a ruffian devoid of all human 

The Queen of Patani shared the opinions of the Shogun 
of Japan. She refused to send the usual tribute, and 
declared herself independent of King Prasat T'ong, 
whom she described to a Dutch visitor as a " rascal, 
murderer and traitor." 

Cambodia was hostile, and was supposed to be waiting 
for a suitable opportunity to inVade Siam, aided by the 
expelled Japanese. 1 

Chiengmai was under Burmese dominion. An 
attempt at rebellion was made in 1630, when the Prince 
of Chiengmai 1 declared himself independent and captured 
Chiengsen. But the new King of Burma, T'ado T'am- 
maraja,* once more invaded the northern principality in 
1631. After a long siege, Chiengmai was captured by 
the Burmese in April 1632. The Prince was deposed, 
and one P'ya Luang T'ip'anet was set up as Burmese 
Viceroy at Chiengmai. 

It will thus be seen that King Prasat T'ong occupied, 
at the outset of his reign, a very isolated position. His 
only foreign friends were the Dutch, 4 who espoused his 

1 Cambodian history states that the King of Cambodia invaded Siam in 1630. 
There seems to be no confirmation of this statement elsewhere. 

1 This Prince was the Chief of Nan, who was appointed by the Burmese to be 
Prince of Chiengmai in 1614. 

8 King Maha T'ammaraja of Burma was murdered in 1626 by Minderippa, 
one of his sons, who proclaimed himself King. He was deposed and executed in 
1629 by T'ado T'ammaraja of Prome, a brother of Maha T'ammaraja. This 
King is called Thalun in Harvey's History of Burma. 

4 The English took no part in Siamese affairs, as their factory, closed in 1622, 
had not been reopened. 



cause, and promised to assist him against the Portuguese 
and Cambodians. In 1630 and 1632 several Dutch 
vessels were sent to Siam for this purpose. Prince 
Frederick Henry of the Netherlands, brother and 
successor to Prince Maurice, sent a very flattering letter 
to King Prasat T'ong, congratulating him on his accession, 
and containing some touching condolences on the death 
of his predecessor doubtless well meant, but not very 

The new Governor of Nak'on Srit'ammarat, following 
the example of the Queen of Patani, refused to send 
tribute. The King himself led an expedition against the 
rebel city in 1632, destroyed it, and removed most of the 
inhabitants to Ayut'ia. Van Vliet relates that the King, 
on setting forth to attack Nak'on Srit'ammarat, swore to 
offer up the first four women he met, as a sacrifice. On 
leaving Ayut'ia he met four young girls in a boat, on whom 
he fulfilled his vow. 

This story is typical of the cruelty and barbarity of 
this atrocious man. His whole reign was a series of 
murders. In 1635, one ^ kis daughters having died and 
been cremated, a part of her flesh, for some reason, 
remained unconsumed. Attributing this to magic (for 
he was as credulous as he was cruel) he indulged in a 
perfect orgy of murder and torture. It is needless to 
disgust the reader with the detailed description of these 
scenes. Over three thousand persons lost their lives, as 
the tyrant saw in the death of his daughter a good excuse 
for ridding himself of those whom he suspected of 
disapproving of his usurpation of the crown. One of the 
daughters and two of the sons of King Songt'am were 
sacrificed among the rest. 

The usurper had early determined to extirpate all the 
scions of the Royal Family. In 1633 he had caused three 


infant Princes to be executed. In 1635 a blind Prince, 
who had for some time previously been an object of 
suspicion, was inveigled into a dispute with a soldier, and 
punished with death. 1 

An expedition which was undertaken in 1632 against 
rebellious Patani was unsuccessful. The Patanese 
repulsed the Siamese and inflicted several severe defeats 
upon them. According to Dutch witnesses this was due 
to the bungling methods of the Siamese General, but the 
blame was thrown on the Dutch, who had been expected 
to assist with two ships, which never turned up. 

,In 1634 a more serious attempt was made to subdue 
Patani. An army of over 30,000 men was raised at 
Ayut'ia, and was sent under the command of P'y* 
P'rak'lang to Nak'on Srit'ammarat, accompanied by a 
great many elephants, ponies, guns and ammunition. 
There they were to be joined by other troops, sent by sea. 
and by armies to be raised in the Peninsula. The tota, 
force available was estimated at between 50,000 and 
60,000 men. The Dutch again promised to assist with 
six large vessels. The few Japanese remaining at 
Ayut'ia were also ordered to take part in this expedition. 

Owing to gross mismanagement, this campaign, like 
the first, was an utter failure. Instead of waiting for the 
Dutch fleet, the Siamese attacked Patani, and were 
repulsed with severe losses. Their provisions then ran 
short, and they returned to Singora. The Dutch fleet, 
on reaching Patani, found that the Siamese had 

1 The identity of this blind Prince is doubtful. Van VUet says that he was 
a son of the " Grand Roy," and had had his eyesight injured by fire under orders 
from King Naresuen, as a consequence of which he had renounced his claim to 
the throne. As King Naresuen died in 1605, this Prince can hardly have been 
a son of King Songt'am, who was born about 1590. It is possible that he was an 
elder brother of King Songt'am, who had been intended to succeed King Ekat'- 
otsarot, and that he is the person referred to in the P'ongsawodan as " King 
Saowap'ak." (See Note to p. 160.) Saowap'ak is stated to have been blind in 
one eye. 


The King of Siam had one General beheaded and 
several others severely punished. He appears to have 
been satisfied with the action of the Dutch, and 
returned to them five thousand florins, being half of 
the duty paid by them that year for the right to trade 
with Siam. 

On January ist, 1636, P'ya P'itsanulok, one of the most 
influential men in the Kingdom, was arrested for having 
falsely accused the King's brother of plotting to gain the 
crown. On January 22nd he was publicly cut in two by 
the executioner. 

In the same year (1636) extensive preparations were 
made to subdue Patani, but an embassy was first sent 
to urge the Queen of Patani to submit. By the advice 
of the Dutch, the embassy was well received, and 
Patanese envoys were sent in April to Ayut'ia to beg 
forgiveness, and to present the customary gold and silver 
trees in token of submission. 

Although the King outwardly professed to be satisfied 
with the assistance given by the Dutch against rebellious 
Patani, he now regarded them with less favour. His 
irritation was increased by the receipt of some very 
stiffly worded letters from the Dutch Governor-General 
at Batavia, who complained that he had been misled 
about some consignments of rice which had been promised 
him. On December loth, 1636, two of the Dutchmen 
employed by the Dutch Company had an altercation 
with some priests, and they and their friends were later 
attacked and roughly handled by a large crowd of Siamese. 
The next day they were charged with attacking the house 
of the King's brother, and two of their number were 
sentenced to be trampled to death by elephants. Van 
Vliet, by distributing presents to the King and principal 
officials, managed to obtain their release, after they had 


been exposed all day in public, bound hand and foot. He 
was forced to sign an undertaking that all the Dutch in 
the Kingdom pledged themselves absolutely to obey all 
the orders of the P'rak'lang. 

It may be remarked that the King was drunk on this 
occasion. It was, in fact, his usual custom to be under 
the influence of drink thrice daily. " This drunkenness," 
says van Vliet, " which occurs very often, and often 
reaches a dangerous limit, has caused many evils during 
his reign and is frequently the reason why innocent blood 
has been shed." 

In March 1638 occurred the beginning of the year 
1000 of the Chulasakarat Era. King Prasat T'ong be- 
came obsessed with the idea that some frightful calamity 
would overwhelm the world to mark the thousandth year 
of the Era. He therefore determined, if possible, to 
avert the calamity by altering the name of the year. The 
old Siamese Calendar was run on a triple system ; firstly, 
there was the Chulasakarat number of the year ; secondly, 
each year bore the name of an animal, of which there 
were twelve, recurring in regular order; 1 and thirdly, 
it was numbered from one to ten. The combined 
cycles of twelve animals and ten numbers completed 
themselves every sixty years, when the first animal (the 
Rat) coincided with the number One. The year 1000 
(A.D. 1638-9) was the year of the Tiger, numbered Ten. 
The King's plan was to " camouflage " the year by calling 
it the year of the Pig, while retaining the number Ten. 
This meant leaving out the names of nine of the animals, 
and thereby disorganising the combined cycles of sixty 

Delighted with this ingenious scheme, the King wrote 

1 1, The Rat ; 2, The Ox ; 3, The Tiger ; 4, The Hare ; 5, The Dragon ; 
6, The Serpent ; 7, The Horse ; 8, The Goat ; 9, The Monkey ; 10, The Cock ; 
11, The Dog; 12, The Pig (or in northern Siam, the Elephant). 


to T'ado T'ammaraja of Burma, 1 suggesting that it 
should be adopted in Burma as well. The Burmese 
monarch probably felt little interest in the matter, as the 
" animal cycle " was not in general use in Burma. 
Moreover, he had already averted all danger of ill luck 
by holding a huge ordination ceremony, at which 1,000 
youths, one of each year of the Era, were initiated into 
the Buddhist priesthood. He therefore sent an embassy 
to Ayut'ia, with a letter returning an unfavourable reply. 
King Prasat T'ong flew into a passion, and dismissed the 
Burmese envoys, after heaping insults upon them. 

The alteration in the " animal cycle " was never 
generally adopted, even in Siam. 

In 1649, the usurper indulged in another outburst of 
fury against the Dutch. The Dutch Company had put 
forward a certain claim against the Siamese Government, 
which the King, after first promising to meet, later 
repudiated. Annoyed at the King's fickleness, van 
Vliet used much stronger language than was wise, and 
it was reported that he had uttered a threat to bring a 
Dutch fleet to attack Ayut'ia. The King, who was, as 
usual, drunk when this report was made to him, at first 
ordered the immediate execution of every Dutchman in 
Siam. He was induced to grant them one day's grace 
in which to leave the country, failing which they were 
to be trampled to death by elephants, and the factory 
given up to plunder. The whole capital was thrown into 
confusion. Troops were called out, cannon pointed at 
the Dutch factory, and all the Dutchmen were arrested 
and kept in confinement for some time. The King, 
however, changed his mind about having them trampled 
to death, and in the end released them, and bestowed 
various marks of favour upon van Vliet. For some time, 

1 Called Thalun in Harvey's History of Burma. 


however, numbers of troops were kept under arms, and 
all kinds of warlike preparations were made, with the 
object of showing the Dutch that the King was ready and 
able to capture Batavia. 

In November 1641 a letter was received from the 
Prince of Orange, and also one from the Governor- 
General of the Dutch Indies, accompanied by many 
rare gifts. The King received the Prince's letter in an 
unusually ceremonious manner, and said that he had 
never before been favoured with so pleasing a missive. 
But the Dutch probably knew better by this time than to 
be impressed by these changes of face. Van Vliet, 
writing several years later, said that real friendship 
between Siam and the Netherlands was impossible 
" unless the disgrace which we have suffered has been 
washed away by the sword, in which may God Almighty 

In 1648 Singora became troublesome, and an expedition 
was sent to subdue it. The Dutch Council at Batavia 
gave orders that some Dutch vessels were to be sent to 
help the Siamese fleet, in the hope of placating the fickle 
King. No record remains of the result of this expedition, 
but it would appear that Singora was not subdued until 
much later. In 1654 we find the Dutch once more at 
loggerheads with King Prasat T'ong on account of their 
negligence in not having sent twenty ships to assist in 
attacking Singora. Their Agent, Westerwolt, the suc- 
cessor of van Vliet, was treated with great indignity, 
and when he threatened to leave Siam he was informed 
that any attempt to do so would result in his being 
trampled to death by elephants, together with all his 

Finally the King had to be told that owing to the 
rupture of relations with England the Dutch could not 


spare any ships. This unpleasing news was conveyed 
together with many valuable presents. The latter 
apparently placated the capricious tyrant, for he treated 
the Dutch with greater courtesy, though his expedition 
to Singora had to be put off. The army, which had been 
waiting at Nak'on Srit'ammarat, was recalled, and the 
General in command was thrown into irons. 

In 1655 another attempt was made to subdue Singora, 
but " the Admiral who had undertaken to overcome the 
place with the naval force ran away, so that they returned 
to Siam with shame." 

King Prasat T'ong was responsible, during his reign, 
for a considerable amount of legislation. One is unwil- 
ling to admire any of the measures of this execrable man, 
but it must be admitted that his legislative activities were 
not unsuccessful. 

The most ir :sting of the Laws associated with this 
King's name are the following : 

i. The Law of Appeal, promulgated in A.D. 1633. 

The underlying principle of this Law was not to 
provide, as in modern times, for Appeals concerning the 
facts or Law on which the original judgment was based, 
but an Appeal was considered rather in the nature of an 
Appeal against the Judge, for injustice, favouritism, or 
slackness. A great many grounds for appealing against 
a Judge were admitted, and the Judge hearing the Appeal 
was empowered to fine the Judge of the Court below if 
the complaints brought by the parties were found correct. 
On the other hand, groundless Appeals might result in 
the punishment of the Appellant. This last provision 
might perhaps be useful in modern Siam, where Appeals 
are often made on very frivolous grounds. 

1 Cromwell declared war on the Dutch in July 1652, but the news of this 
probably did not reach the Far East until well on in 1653. 


2. The Law on Debt Slavery, A.D. 1637. 

Slavery, though unknown in the golden days of King 
Ramk'amheng and his successors at Suk'ot'ai, had 
always been a feature of the Siamese social system under 
the King's of Ayut'ia. Slavery in any country must 
always be inseparable from cruelty and abuses, but once 
the system is admitted, the Siamese Law on the subject 
does not appear unreasonable, and does not by any means 
ignore the interests of the slaves. There were provisions 
in the Law for the punishment ot masters who killed or 
injured their slaves, and many means were provided to 
permit of slaves regaining their liberty. Unfortunately, 
as was inevitable, the more merciful provisions of this 
Law were too often disregarded, and the lot of a debt- 
slave in Siam was often a very miserable one, even in 
modern times, until the year 1905, when King Chulalong- 
korn (Rama V) performed the most noble act in his long 
and memorable reign, by finally abolishing once and for 
all the last remaining traces of slavery in his Kingdom. 

3. The Law of Inheritance, issued by King Prasat 
T'ong in A.D. 1635, * s st ^ * n f rce at the present time. 
This Law professes to be based on the Dhammathat, but 
in fact it is a great improvement on Manu's hoary and 
anachronistic code. It is interesting to note that King 
Prasat T'ong's Law provided for the making of Wills. 
Moreover, a Will is not spoken of as something new, but 
appears to have been, even before 1635, a recognised 
legal instrument in Siam. Burmese Buddhists, even in 
the present year of grace, are still precluded from making 

The provisions of the Siamese Law as to the witnessing 
of a Will are most interesting, and in the opinion of the 
author are superior to the English Law on the subject. 
The witnesses must be respectable persons, their number 


varying according to the rank of the Testator. Moreover, 
they are not, as in England, merely witnesses to the 
signature of the Will, but also to its contents, and to the 
competence of the Testator. These provisions render 
it difficult for a man to make a hasty or eccentric Will, 
since it may not be easy to find the requisite number of 
respectable persons to witness it. It is thus practically 
impossible for a Siamese, on his death-bed, to disinherit 
his wife and children and leave his money to a home for 
lost dogs. 

4. The Law of Debt, which came into force in 
A.D. 1648, is another ingenious piece of legislation. This 
Law sets forth very clearly the respective liability of wives 
and husbands, parents and children, and brothers and 
sisters for one another's debts, 

A curious provision of the Law of Debt is that a person 
who denies before a Court of Law liability for his debt, 
but is proved in fact to be liable, may be made to pay 
double " so as to keep him from getting into the way of 
denying his debts." Similarly, an unsuccessful Plaintiff 
may be mulcted in twice the amount of his claim, so as 
to teach him not to bring false claims. These provisions 
are not enforced at the present day. In former times, 
one must suppose that none but litigants with cast iron 
cases ever ventured into Court. 

The Law of Debt was ill adapted to modern require- 
ments ; it was superseded by the new Civil Code intro- 
duced in 1926. 

5. The most curious specimen of King Prasat T'ong's 
legislative efforts has been kept to the last. This is his 
addition to the Law of Offences against the Government 
of A.D. 1351. It was issued in 1657 (probably after the 
King had had a particularly trying time with van Vliet) 
and runs as follows : " If any subjects of the Realm, 


Tai or Mohn, male or female, fearless of the Royal 
displeasure and Laws, and seeing the wealth and pros- 
perity of merchants from foreign lands, shall give their 
daughters or granddaughters to be the wives of foreigners, 
English or Dutch, Japanese or Malays, followers of other 
religions, and allow them to become converted to foreign 
religions, those persons are held to be thorns in the side 
of the State and enemies of the Realm. They may be 
punished by confiscation of their property, imprisonment 
for life, degradation, being made to cut grass for the 
Royal elephants, or fines of various grades. This is for 
an example to others. Why is this ? Because the 
(foreign) father will sow seed and beget future progeny, 
and the father and son will report the affairs of the Realm 
in foreign lands, and when they became known, foreigners 
will assail the Realm on every side, and the Buddhist 
religion will decline and fall into disrepute." 

Dutch writers refer more than once to preparations 
made by King Prasat T'ong, during his reign, to subdue 
Cambodia, which, as has been seen, had been more or 
less independent since 1618, No record can be found of 
an invasion of Cambodia having been actually undertaken 
during this reign, but there is some reason to suppose that 
the show of force was sufficient, and that Cambodia 
renewed her allegiance to Siam. It was probably to 
celebrate this event that King Prasat T'ong erected a 
temple on the road from Ayut'ia to P'rabat, the design 
of which was copied from the celebrated Angkor T'om 
temple in Cambodia, 

King Prasat T'ong died on the 8th of August, 1656. 
It seems strange that this man, who had obtained the 
throne of Siam through intrigue and murder, and had 
retained it by methods of terrorism, was allowed to die 
quietly in his bed. Not only this, but he even seems to 


have been regarded by some contemporary and later 
writers with a certain degree of admiration. Van 
Schouten speaks of him as "ruling with great reputation 
an4jfc6nour," and the compilers of the Siamese P'ong?a- 
wadan apparently had rather a high opinion of him. He 
was evidently one of those successful upstarts who suc- 
ceed, by sheer force of audacity, in impressing upon others 
a false opinion of their merits. If there was anything 
really great about the man, it certainly is not evident in 
the accounts of contemporary observers. 

The figures represent Louis XIV and the Great Mogul 

p 189 




ON the death of King Prasat T'ong, his eldest son, 
Chao Fa Jai, seized l the throne, though it would appear 
that the late King's younger brother had been appointed 
Uparat. Chao Fa Jai, however, only reigned for a few 
days. His younger brother, Prince Narai, joined the 
party of his uncle, and he was captured and executed. 

Prince Sri Sut'ammaraja, younger brother of King 
Prasat T'ong, now became King, and Prince Narai was 
made Uparat. 

From the little we know about King Sri Sut'ammaraja, 
we may conclude that he was as villainous a character 
as his brother. Fortunately for Siam, he reigned for less 
than three months. In November 1657 he became 
enamoured of his niece, the sister of Prince Narai, and 
made overtures to her which she resented. She was 
smuggled out of the palace hidden in a book-case, 1 
and went to complain to her brother of the unseemly 
treatment to which she had been subjected. Prince 
Narai decided to dethrone his uncle. Calling his 
followers round him, he attacked the palace. The 

1 The P'ongsawadan states that he was appointed King by his father. The 
Council of Dutch East India Company at Batavia, writing in the following 
January, said that he " with armed men seized the Court." 

* One of the large square cupboards in which religious books are kept. 



King was wounded in the back, but managed to 
escape. He was captured, and a few days later was 
executed. 1 

The new King was aged about twenty-five at the time 
of his accession. The violent deaths of two monarchs 
within three months had unsettled the country, and we 
may suppose that King Narai did not feel, at first, very 
secure upon his throne. He had, indeed, not been King 
for long when two of his younger brothers were accused 
of plotting against his life. They were both executed, 
and for some time executions of suspects were the order 
of the day. 

In 1659 the Kingdom of Cambodia was disturbed by 
civil war between the young King, Keo Fa, and his 
brother, Nak Pratum. The Queen-mother, a Cochin- 
Chinese Princess, asked for the intervention of the King 
of Cochin-China. A Cochin-Chinese army then overran 
and plundered the Kingdom. The King was captured, 
and died in Cochin-China, and Nak Pratum became 
King. Among the victims of this invasion were several 
Englishmen, employed in the East India Company's 
factory in Cambodia. The factory was looted, and they 
narrowly escaped with their lives. They fled to Siam, 
where King Narai treated them with great kindness and 
generosity. They sent a flowery account of the country 
to the Council at Batavia, and urged the re-establishment 
of a factory at Ayut'ia. By 1661 the East India Com- 
pany once more possessed an establishment in Siam. 
The King forgave them an old debt, still owing, and their 
factors returned once more to " ye olde factory house," 

1 According to Turpin, King Sri Sut'ammaraja was stabbed to death by a 
Portuguese, of whom there were 1,000 on the side of King Narai. Siamese 
history says that King Narai was assisted by his Japanese body-guard, one of 
whom shot at and wounded King Sri Sut'ammaraja. The Council of the East 
India Company at Batavia, writing only two months after these events, said that 
Prince Narai took up arms and deprived his uncle first of the throne, and then, 
a few days later, of his life." 


abandoned in 1632. Thomas Cotes was placed in 

Burma was at this time in a very disturbed state, owing 
to difficulties with China. The Ming dynasty had been 
overthrown, and the last Ming Emperor died in 1643. 
His son, Yunhli, after maintaining himself for some 
years as a kind of robber chieftain on the frontiers of 
Yunnan and the Shan States, was driven in 1658 to seek 
a refuge in Burma. As a consequence of this, the 
next year a large Chinese force invaded Burma and 
besieged Ava. 1 

These events were not without their effect upon the 
politics of Siam. P'ra Sen Miiang, the Prince of Chieng- 
mai, became panic-stricken on hearing of the Chinese 
invasion of Burma, and fearing that his turn would come 
next, sent an envoy with a letter to King Narai imploring 
the protection of Siam, King Narai eagerly welcomed the 
opportunity of reuniting Chiengmai and Ayut'ia, and in 
November 1660 marched northwards at the head of a 
considerable army. 

In the meantime, the Prince of Chiengmai received 
tidings that the Chinese had run short of supplies and 
had retired from Ava. Thinking that, in his haste, he 
had laid himself open to the vengeance of the King of 
Burma, he secretly ordered all his officers and men who 
were with the Siamese army to return at once to Chieng- 
mai. King Narai, seeing that the Prince of Chiengmai 
was playing him false, proceeded on his march, and 
occupied Nak'on Lamp'ang and several smaller towns in 
the Chiengmai dominions. His force, however, was 
too weak to deal with a hostile Chiengmai. He therefore 
returned to Ayut'ia early in 1661. 

1 The King of Burma at this time was Bintale, son of Tado Maha T'ammaraja. 
He succeeded in 1648. 


In the same year King Bintal of Burma was over- 
thrown and executed. He had caused great misery by 
conniving at " profiteering " in food by his wives and 
courtiers during the siege of Ava. His brother, the 
Prince of Prome, became King, assuming the title of 
Maha Pawara T'ammaraja, 1 

These events in Burma greatly encouraged King Narai 
in his design of subduing Chiengmai. He was by no 
means satisfied with the performance of his Generals 
on the first expedition, and determined to place a younger 
and more energetic man in charge of his armies. His 
choice fell on his foster brother, P'ya Kosa T'ibodi 
K'un Lek. P'ya Kosa, on assuming command, horrified 
all the old hands by his merciless severity. He had 
realised that what was wanting in the Siamese army was 
strict discipline and obedience. Deserters and slackers 
got short shrift from him, and he saw to it that his orders 
were obeyed. On one occasion he gave instructions for 
the building of a stockade with the narrow ends of the 
bamboo buried in the earth. A certain officer, observing 
that this was contrary to the usual method of putting the 
big ends downwards, assumed that the General had made 
a mistake, which he took upon himself to set right. He 
paid for this offence with his head. 

P'ya Kosa was, of course, quite right, and readers who 
have tried to induce country folk in Siam to do a 
job on a new system will have every sympathy with 

At the end of 1 66 1 P'ya Kosa left Ayut'ia for Chiengmai 
with his army, followed not long afterwards by the King. 
In all, about 100,000 men were engaged on this expedition, 
a far larger army than had ever before been put into the 
field for an invasion of Chiengmai. No serious resistance 

1 Pye, in Harvey's History of Burma. 


was met with until Nak'on Lamp'ang was reached. That 
city fell after a short engagement. Lamp'un held out 
for a week. Chiengmai put up a stout resistance, but 
was taken after the arrival of King Narai in March 1662. 
The Prince and most of the nobles were captured. 

After the fall of Chiengmai a Burmese army appeared 
on the scene, but was attacked by the Siamese and driven 
back to Burma. 

King Narai remained for fifteen days at Chiengmai. 
He then returned to Ayut'ia with a vast amount of 
booty, including the famous image of Buddha called 
the P'rasingh, which had formerly been at Ayut'ia. 1 

While the Siamese were invading Chiengmai, a serious 
rebellion broke out in Pegu. The Peguans had shown 
evident signs of disaffection during the siege of Ava by 
the Chinese. After the danger was over, the new King 
of Burma made ready to chastise them. They revolted, 
seized the Governor of Martaban and sent him to Ayut'ia 
with envoys to beg King Narai to take Pegu under his 
protection and to defend them against the King of Burma. 
At the same time large numbers of Peguans emigrated 
from their country and settled in Siam. 

King Narai, seeing that these proceedings could only 
result in war, assembled strong forces at all the principal 
points on the frontier of Burma. Towards the end of 
1662 the expected attack was made, but the Siamese were 
ready, and drove the Burmese back with heavy losses. 
Encouraged by this victory to pursue a still more ad- 
venturous policy, King Narai now advanced into Pegu. 
The whole population, wearied of Burmese oppression, 
rose in his favour. Martaban, Rangoon and other strong- 
holds were quickly occupied, and the Siamese army then 
marched northwards. How far they got is a matter as 

1 See note to p. 74. 



to which the most diverse evidence exists. In the end, 
however, they were forced, owing to shortage of supplies 
and the existence of a famine in Burma, to retire back to 

This was the last important invasion of Burmese 
territory by a Siamese army. The results were of no 
lasting importance. Pegu fell back almost at once under 
Burmese rule, but a less harsh policy was adopted 
towards the Peguans, lest they might again appeal to Siam 
for aid. 

As for Chiengmai, King Narai seems to have made no 
attempt to maintain his ascendancy there. In 1663 
P'ya Sen Mliang died and the Burmese Prince of Prome 
was appointed to govern Chiengmai, which remained 
under the rule of Burmese Princes until 1727. 

It must be admitted that King Narai's wars were quite 
devoid of any useful results. 

The re-establishment of an English factory at Ayut'ia 
was very displeasing to the Dutch, who had had almost 
the whole trade of Siam in their hands for about forty 
years. Moreover, the system of Royal monopolies, 
instituted by King Songt'am and consolidated by King 
Prasat T'ong, whereby the King controlled all the princi- 
pal articles of commerce, such as hides, tin and timber, 
did not suit them at all. Early in 1664 they demanded 
various special commercial privileges, and on failing to 
obtain these, they sent a fleet, which blockaded the mouth 

1 It seems impossible to find out the truth about these events. Siamese history 
says that the Siamese besieged Ava. Burmese history makes out that the Siamese 
never got beyond Pegu, where they were defeated and driven back to Siam, 
King Narai's son, P'ya Win, being killed. King Narai was at that time twenty- 
nine years old, so certainly had no son of military age. The history of Pegu 
(Siamese translation) says that the Siamese reached Pagan, but this translation 
bears signs of having been touched up to make it agree with the Siamese version. 

The date is given in Burmese history as 1663 (May), but the Dutch Governor- 
General at Batavia, writing on December isth, 1662, says : " The King has 
subjugated many districts and strong towns, among others the Principality of 
Martavan, and will probably march on ... to subdue the royal city Ava." 
This definitely fixes the Siamese invasion of Pegu as having taken place in the 
latter half of 1662. 


of the Menam River for a considerable time. Siam had 
then no fleet capable of trying conclusions with the Dutch. 
Their demands were therefore granted, and on August 
loth (22nd N.S.), 1664, a Treaty was signed whereby 
the Dutch obtained the sole monopoly of the trade in 
hides, and Siam undertook not to employ any Chinese 
on her ships. The term Chinese was defined as including 
Japanese and Cochin-Chinese. As most of the sailors 
on Siamese ships fell within this definition, this clause 
rendered it impossible for Siam to compete with Holland 
in the China trade. 

But the most interesting provision of this Treaty is the 
following : " In case (which God forbid) any of the 
Company's residents should commit a serious crime in 
Siam, the King and the Judges shall not have the right 
to judge him, but he must be handed over to the Com- 
pany's Chief, to be punished according to the Netherlands 

Here we have the germ of the system of extra-territorial 
jurisdiction, which has occupied so prominent a place in 
the politics of modern Siam. 

King Narai, hoping to curb the arrogance of the Dutch, 
began to think of cultivating the friendship of other 
European Powers. The British East India Company 
were disinclined to interfere in Siamese affairs ; there was 
even a good deal of discussion as to the desirability 01 
closing the factory at Ayut'ia, which was less profitable 
than had been expected. Portugal was no longer for- 
midable. There remained France. In 1662 Monsignor 
de la Motte Lambert, Bishop of B&ythe, had arrived in 
Siam. He was followed in 1664 by Monsignor Pallu, 
Bishop of Heliopolis, and other French Jesuit mis- 
sionaries. The King paid great attention to these French 
missionaries, particularly when he learned that one of their 


number, Father Thomas, was a skilful architect and 
engineer. Father Thomas designed and superintended 
the construction of new forts at Bangkok, Ayut'ia, 
Nontaburi, and other places, designed primarily against 
Dutch aggression. The King, thinking that Ayut'ia was 
too easily accessible from the sea, moved his residence 
to Lopburi, where a new palace, forts, and other buildings 
were put up, likewise with the help of Father Thomas. 
A tower was also built at Ayut'ia, to be used as an ob- 

The French missionaries were given land and houses 
and were encouraged to build churches. The great 
favours thus showered on them by King Narai misled 
them into supposing that he had a personal leaning 
towards the Catholic faith, and they began to form the 
design of converting him, and through him the whole 

In 1665 the Bishop of Heliopolis returned to Europe. 
He regaled the Pope, Alexander VII, and King Louis 
XIV of France, with wonderful accounts of the advance 
of the faith in Siam. The Pope promised to take steps 
to push forward the good work, and Louis sent several 
architects and craftsmen to assist Father Thomas with 
his more worldly tasks. 

The Bishop of B6rythe and his followers had their 
first personal interview with King Narai about the time 
of the departure of Bishop Pallu for Europe. They 
seized the opportunity of expounding to His Majesty the 
principles of Christianity. He appeared to be impressed, 
and their hopes of success were raised by further grants 
of land. 

A couple of years elapsed, during which a good many 
converts were gained, but the King remained a Buddhist. 
In 1668 Mohammedan missionaries arrived from Acheen, 


a State which had for long been in friendly communica- 
tion with Siam, and urged King Narai to embrace the 
tenets of Islam. The French missionaries were greatly 
perturbed, but the King was not much impressed by the 
merits of Mohammedanism, and at a later date stated that 
if he were ever to change his religion he would certainly 
never become a Mohammedan. It is worthy of note 
that though Christianity has never made a very general 
appeal to the Siamese, particularly the upper classes, 
Mohammedanism has attracted them even less. 

In February 1669 Monsieur des Bourges, Secretary to 
the Bishop of B6rythe, who had returned to France in 
1663, appeared again in Siam, accompanied by six more 
priests, and bearing a Bull from the new Pope, Clement 
IX, whereby Siam and some of the neighbouring States 
were placed under the jurisdiction of the Church at 
Ayut'ia, thus recognising French ecclesiastical ascendancy 
in Indo-China. Monsignor Lanneau was later (1664) 
consecrated Bishop of Metallopolis, to reside in Siam, 
with power to establish missions throughout the East, 
with the exception of the possessions of Spain and 

By 1676 there was a Catholic seminary at Ayut'ia, 
attended by over a hundred pupils. Siamese youths 
were being prepared for holy orders, and a female com- 
munity, known as Votaries of the Cross, was established. 
No means were neglected of gaining adherents for the 
Church of Rome. 

On May 27th, 1673, t ^ ie Bishop of Heliopolis returned 
to Ayut'ia, after a long and very adventurous journey. 
He bore with him letters from Pope Clement IX and 
King Louis XIV to King Narai. The Siamese monarch 
was anxious to receive the letters in solemn public 
audience. The Bishops stipulated that they must be 


received in a manner becoming to their dignity, and must 
be spared the humiliation of appearing in their stockinged 
soles and prostrating themselves before His Majesty. 
After some delay these conditions were accepted, and 
the Siamese nobles were scandalised by the sight of the 
Bishop and priests remaining seated at a royal audience. 
The letters were duly presented, but certain valuable 
presents, sent by the Pope and the French King, had 
perforce been left behind at Bantam. 

Not long afterwards, the Bishops were conducted in 
almost Royal state to Lopburi, and were given a private 
grant of land for the mission ; the King further promised 
to build them a fine church at his own expense. 

The presents from the Pope and the French King never 
arrived. A Siamese vessel was sent to bring them from 
Bantam, but the vessel, with its cargo, was captured by 
the Dutch after it had left that port. 

The year 1675 was a niemorable one, for in that year 
the Phoenix, a ship belonging to Captain George White, 
arrived at Ayut'ia. Captain White's factor was none 
other than the celebrated Constant or Constantine 
Phaulkon, whose romantic and dazzling career in Siam 
has been so often related. 

Phaulkon was born in the Greek Island of Cephallonia, 
about the year 1650. His father was a small inn-keeper 
named Yeraki (meaning a falcon). Young Yeraki ran 
away from home when about ten years old, and joined an 
English ship. He lived in London until about 1669, 
when he went to sea again as Captain White's cabin-boy. 
He had anglicised his name to Falcon, and his shipmates 
re-hellenised it again to Phaulkon. He rose to be 
White's factor, and saved a little money, which he in- 
creased by helping White in his trading operations at 

1 Phaulkon himself invariably signed his name as " Constant Phaulkon." 


Ayut'ia. Before White left Siam, Phaulkon bought 
with his savings a small ship called the Mary. He took 
command of this vessel himself, but was twice driven 
back from the mouth of the Menam by bad weather, and 
the third time was wrecked and cast ashore. He managed, 
however, to save two thousand crowns out of the wreck, 
He fell in with another castaway, who turned out to be 
a Siamese ambassador to Persia, who had chanced to 
suffer shipwreck in the same place. Phaulkon used his 
two thousand crowns to purchase another ship, in which 
he took the ambassador back to Ayut'ia. The grateful 
ambassador introduced Phaulkon to P'ya Kosa T'ibodi, 
who had lately become P'rak'lang. The P'rak'lang 
took him into his service, and before long he became 
Superintendent of foreign trade, with the title of Luang 

The appointment of Phaulkon to this position did not 
at all suit the East India Company. The one thing which 
they regarded with special hatred and detestation was 
what they called an " interloper," meaning thereby an 
English trader who carried on business in the Far East 
independently of the Company. Captain George White 
and his brother Samuel were noted " interlopers." 
Phaulkon had perhaps imbibed from the Whites senti- 
ments none too friendly to the East India Company, 
and to the end of his career he paid no attention to the 
Company's claims to monopolise the English trade in 
Siam, but encouraged many of the detested " inter- 
lopers" to come and do business at Ayut'ia. 

Phaulkon's policy of encouraging " interlopers " led 
to constant ill-feeling between him and the servants of 
the East India Company, and this tended, as time went 
on, to throw him more and more into the arms of the 


In 1674 the Bishop of Heliopolis had left Siam, but 
several new priests arrived in 1676. In 1676 M. Cher- 
boneau, the first Medical Missionary to Siam, arrived. 
He was installed in a hospital established by the King, 
but was before long persuaded to accept the Governorship 
of the island of Puket. This appointment was, without 
doubt, inspired by the French Jesuits, and marks the 
first step in their design to gain for their country complete 
political control over Siam. A few years later, M. 
Cherboneau was succeeded at Puket by another French- 
man, M. Billi. 

In 1679 the worthy Bishop of B&ythe died, and after 
his death the political side of the activities of the French 
missionaries became more evident. 

Colbert, the famous Minister of Louis XIV, had in 
1664 granted a charter to a Company called the " Com- 
pagnie Royale des Indes Orien tales," which was intended 
to rival the English Company, and which had been 
established at Surat since 1668. In 1680 this French 
Company sent a vessel to Ayut'ia, with a number of 
officers, to start a factory there. The King received them 
well and granted them all kinds of privileges. 

On Christmas Day 1680 the first Siamese embassy to 
Europe left Ayut'ia. There were three ambassadors, 
all of high rank, with thirty followers. They took with 
them a letter to the King of France, written on a sheet of 
gold, together with many rare and curious presents, 
including young elephants and rhinoceroses. The letter 
offered to cede Singora to France. Singora, as has been 
seen, had been in a state of rebellion at the time of the 
death of King Prasat T'ong, and it would seem as though 
it was still unsubdued in 1680. 

The ship bearing this embassy, which must have been 
a regular Noah's Ark, never reached Europe. It got 


as far as the east coast of Madagascar, where it was 
wrecked, and all the passengers, humans and animals 
alike, went to the bottom of the sea. 

While showering favours upon the French, King 
Narai was not badly disposed towards the English. The 
latter had not, however, the advantage of possessing a 
force of missionaries, and King Charles II was not a man 
to whom the prospect of ousting French influence in a 
far distant land was likely to appeal. It appears, however, 
that in 1678 King Narai offered to cede Patani to the 
East India Company, with the same privileges as they 
enjoyed at Fort St. George, Samuel Potts, one of the 
Company's factors, actually went to Patani, but finding 
it in a state of rebellion, he went on to Singora. 

With regard to these rebellions of Patani and Singora, 
it is difficult to trace very clearly what happened. Patani 
appears to have submitted to Siam in 1679, but Singora, 
which had been more or less in a state of rebellion for 
over twenty years, was reported by Potts, in January 
1679, to be preparing for a siege. According to Dutch 
reports, Potts assisted the rebellious Governor of Singora 
to put up earthworks against the Siamese, which brought 
the East India Company into great disfavour. In 
March 1689 Singora was still holding out, but was 
probably subdued during that year. La Loub&re states 
that the siege came to an end in a curious manner. A 
Frenchman, named Cyprien, tired of the dilatory methods 
of the Siamese General, crept into Singora by night, 
captured the Governor, and brought him, single-handed, 
into the Siamese camp. 

Potts returned to Ayut'ia after the fall of Singora, and 
began to indulge in a series of quarrels with Richard 
Burnaby, who had been in charge of the British factory 
there since 1678. Burnaby was dismissed in 1681, and 


Potts and Thomas Ivatt became joint chiefs of the factory. 
Burnaby had let Phaulkon run up a big debt. Potts 
demanded payment, and commenced a most violent 
correspondence with Phaulkon, whom he called ungrate- 
ful and impudent, and whose replies he stigmatised as 
" nonsensical stuff." Ivatt took Phaulkon's side and 
was dismissed. He followed Burnaby into the Siamese 
Service. On the night of December 6th, 1682, the house 
and factory of the East India Company were utterly 
destroyed by fire. Potts accused Phaulkon of having 
caused the fire in order to destroy the evidence of his 
debt. Phaulkon alleged that Potts himself had burnt 
the factory down, so as to conceal the defalcations of which 
he had been guilty. 

These disputes only served to make Phaulkon more 
and more pro-French. At about this time he was 
converted to the Roman faith, and from now on 
became more or less definitely a supporter of French 

In 1683 William Strangh and Thomas Yale were sent 
from England to investigate the Company's affairs in 
Siam. They were well received by the new P'rak'lang, 
P'ya Srit'ammarat, the successor of Chao P'ya Kosa 
T'ibodi, 1 who had died early in that year. Strangh and 
Yale did more harm than good. They collected none 
of the debts due, and failed to elicit the truth about the 
loss of the factory. Yale was more or less reasonable, 
but Strangh had the most violent quarrels with Phaulkon, 
who had now become Chao P'ya Wijayen, and left in 
a fury at the end of the same year. Strangh wrote 
Phaulkon a parting letter, in which he spoke of " your 
impolite weak understanding, jumbled by your sudden 
and surprising elevation to a sovereign Lordship or a 

1 He had been made a Chao P'ya several years previously. 


heathenish Grace," and accused him of firing the factory 
and of being at the bottom of all the Company's troubles 
and losses at Ayut'ia. Not very diplomatic. 

Phaulkon, whom Strangh saw fit to insult so grossly, 
was now one of the most powerful men in Siam. The 
new P'rak'lang, to quote Phaulkon himself, was a " fool," 
and the Greek was to all intents and purposes the P'rak'- 
lang. Whilst Strangh was irritating this dangerous 
enemy, King Narai was arranging to make fresh overtures 
to France. In January 1684 the second Siamese embassy 
set sail for Europe. This embassy was headed by two 
Siamese, and accompanied by a French priest. They 
landed first in England, at Margate, and it is said that 
a Treaty was concluded by them with Charles II, but 
no trace of it has been found. They then went on to 
France, where they were well received. The members of 
this mission were, however, men of inferior rank, and 
their behaviour did not make a good impression in 

These Siamese ambassadors, who had doubtless been 
informed that Christians were monogamous, must have 
been rather puzzled by what they saw at the Courts of 
Charles II and Louis XIV. 

Relations between Phaulkon and the East India 
Company did not improve. Not long after the departure 
of the second Siamese embassy to Europe, Phaulkon 
seized and imprisoned Peter Crouch and John Thomas, 
the Company's factors, on their ship the Delight, for 
refusing to deliver to him a quantity of nails consigned 
to Japan. The East India Company had by this time 
decided that the trade of Siam caused more trouble 
than it was worth, and that Phaulkon was a " naughty 
man " and a " wicked fellow." However, in 1685 
the Council at Fort St. George sent a Commercial Mission 


to Ayut'ia to make a final attempt to set matters on a 
more satisfactory footing. This mission arrived at 
Ayut'ia in September 1685. The first sight that met their 
eyes was two French men-of-war, which had just arrived, 
conveying the first embassy of Louis XIV to Siam. 
The English mission was more or less ignored, and 
seems to have been entirely without results. 

The French embassy was equipped on a most magni- 
ficent scale. At its head was the Chevalier de Chaumont, 
and he was accompanied by a numerous suite, in which 
the Jesuit element largely predominated. The principal 
task set by King Louis for the Chevalier de Chaumont 
was the conversion of King Narai to Christianity, and 
the Abb Choisy, who accompanied him, was instructed 
to remain behind to baptise the King in the event of 
his conversion. 

The French embassy obtained, by virtue of a conven- 
tion signed on December I9th, 1685, VCI 7 important 
religious and commercial concessions. The French 
East India Company gained complete liberty of com- 
merce, with the exception of import and export duties, 
and with the important restriction that all goods had to 
be bought from the Royal warehouses. The manager 
of the Company was given extra-territorial jurisdiction 
over their servants. The Company further obtained a 
monopoly of the tin in the island of Puket, and Singora 
was ceded to them, with full power to fortify it. 

In return, what did Siam gain ? Nothing at all I 
There must, however, have been a tacit understanding 
that France was to assist, if necessary, against the Dutch, 
whose steadily increasing influence in the Peninsula 
was regarded by King Narai with some misgiving. 

The Chevalier de Chaumont, however, failed in what 
was regarded as the main object of his mission, namely 


the conversion of the King. Poor King Narai must have 
had a very trying time of it, for not only was he being 
pestered by de Chaumont and the Jesuits to become a 
Catholic, but there was at the same time a Persian 
ambassador at his Court, who lost no opportunity of 
impressing upon His Majesty the virtues of the Koran. 

In the end, de Chaumont asked for a definite reply, 
and the King is then supposed to have made a speech 
which has since become famous, in the course of which 
he said : " It is natural to believe that the True God 
takes as much pleasure in being worshipped in different 
ways as by being glorified by a vast number of creatures 
who praise Him after one fashion. We admire the 
beauty and variety of natural things. Are that beauty 
and that variety less to be admired in the supernatural 
sphere, or are they less worthy of God's wisdom ? 
However, as we know that God is the supreme Ruler 
of the world, and believe that nothing can be done 
against His will, I resign my person and my realm to 
His mercy and His Divine Providence, and I implore 
Him, in His eternal wisdom, so to dispose of them as 
shall seem best to Him." 1 

While the French embassy was being feted at Lopburi, 
relations between Siam and the East India Company 
were becoming less and less friendly. The King of 
Siam had a claim against the King of Golconda, and 
an Englishman in the Siamese service, Captain John 
Coates, was sent, in command of a Siamese ship called 
the Prosperous, to enforce a settlement. Coates seized 
several ships belonging to the King of Golconda, captured 
a fort, and committed other hostile acts. There was a 

1 Turpin says that the arguments between the King and de Chaumont never 
really got beyond Phaulkon, who acted as interpreter. It is just possible that the 
King never knew that he was being asked to change his religion, and that his 
eloquent speech was an invention of Phaulkon's. 


factory of the East India Company at Madapollam, in 
Golconda territory, and the chief and governor of the 
factory were blamed by the King of Golconda for the 
actions of Coates, an Englishman, though, as a matter 
of fact, they had done their best to hinder him. 

The proceedings of Coates, and of another Englishman 
in the Siamese service, Alexander Leslie, were denounced 
by the East India Company as piratical, and the relations 
between the Company and the Government of Siam 
became extremely strained. 

French influence, on the other hand, gained in 
strength every day. The Chevalier de Chaumont and 
his Mission left Siam on the 22nd of December, 1685, 
taking with them* the members of King Narai's third 
embassy to France. This embassy was headed by 
P'ra Wisut Sunt'orn (Nai Pan), a younger brother of 
Chao P'ya Kosa T'ibodi, the deceased P'rak'lang. 
P'ra Wisut was an able and intelligent man. He and 
his colleagues created a very good impression on King 
Louis, the more so as they had come to ask, as a favour, 
for something which he was only too ready to grant, 
namely French troops to garrison some of the forts in 

During the early part of 1686 the war between Siam 
and Golconda continued, and was the cause of so many 
incidents to which the East India Company took 
exception that finally they determined to make war on 
Siam. In August 1686, however, the English ship 
Herbert, commanded by Captain Henry Udall, visited 
Siam, bearing a letter addressed to Phaulkon by no less 
a personage than King James II himself. James 
addressed Phaulkon as " Our well-beloved friend," 
and informed him that certain presents sent to the late 
King Charles II had been well received by him. He 


ITOMI Ta< haul's " Vo\agc dc Siain dcs Pt-ies Jesuitcs " 

P 206 


thanked Phaulkon for his goodness to English subjects, 
and assured him of " Our friendship upon all occasions 
which may offer." This letter, however, was written 
on March 2ist, 1685, before any serious trouble had 

Captain Udall never left Siam. While he was at 
Ayut'ia, a serious rebellion was raised by the natives of 
Macassar, who had a large settlement in the capital. 
They were only subdued after several very severe 
engagements. During the final action Captain Coates 
was drowned in a marsh, and Captain Udall fell, fighting 
bravely. Four Frenchmen were also killed. Phaulkon, 
who was no coward, also took a personal part in this 
action, and would have lost his life had not a " strong 
black Cafer flung him into the river and swam with him 
to a boat." In the end, the Macassars were subdued, 
but not till most of them were dead. Those who were 
captured were buried alive. 

The East India Company had fully determined on 
war against Siam, or rather, one might almost say, 
against Phaulkon, the " naughty fellow " whom they 
blamed for all their misfortunes. Their principal aims 
were threefold : to capture and hold the port of Mergui ; 
to capture as many Siamese ships as possible ; to arrest 
and court-martial every Englishman in the Siamese 
service. A certain Captain Lake, who was sent to 
Ayut'ia, more or less as a spy, was foolish enough to 
boast of these warlike designs of the Company. He 
was consequently arrested on his ship, the Prudent 
Mary, by Count de Forbin, the French Commandant of 
the fort of Bangkok, and imprisoned at Lopburi, where 
he died in 1687. 

Mergui was at that time governed by two Englishmen, 
Richard Burnaby, the former Chief of the Company's 


factory at Ayut'ia, and Samuel White, brother of George 
White, Phaulkon's early patron. Burnaby, who bore 
the title of P'ra Marit, was Governor, and White was 
Shahbander, or Port Officer. A personal letter from 
James II was obtained, ordering Burnaby and White 
to betray their trust by handing over Mergui to the 
Company's men-of-war. James was never too proud 
to ask any of his subjects to do a dirty action. 

On the 28th of April, 1687, th e Company forwarded 
to the King of Siam a detailed claim of 65,000, for 
damage suffered by British subjects as a result of the 
war between Siam and Golconda, and also for advances 
made to the Persian ambassador to Siam. The claim 
was accompanied by a very friendly letter to the King, 
coupled, however, with a threat to take any of His 
Majesty's subjects and ships by way of reprisals, and to 
blockade the port of Mergui until full satisfaction was 

The letter was not delivered until after the arrival at 
Mergui of two English frigates, the Curtana and the 
James. Captain Anthony Weltden, of the Curtana^ 
landed, and a proclamation by King James II was read, 
ordering all Englishmen in the Siamese service to leave 
at once. The Englishmen at Mergui, numbering at 
least fifty, prepared to obey, and a truce for sixty days 
was proclaimed, to allow of the letter to King Narai 
being sent to Ayut'ia. After the proclamation of the 
truce some preparations were, very naturally, made to 
defend the port. Weltden objected to this, and on July 
9th he caused some piles, which had been driven into 
the river bed, to be taken out, and on the same day 
seized a Siamese ship, the Resolution. 

On the night of the I4th of July the Siamese Governor 
of Mergui, exasperated by the proceedings of Weltden, 


and fearing that all the Englishmen at Mergui were 
about to make common cause with their compatriots, 
suddenly opened fire on the James, and succeeded in 
sinking her. During the same night an attempt was 
made to massacre every Englishman in Mergui. Weltden, 
who was ashore, had a narrow escape, being left for 
dead. White got away, but Burnaby fell a victim, 
together with about fifty other Englishmen. 

This incident, it must be admitted, was not very 
creditable either to the English or the Siamese. 

Weltden retired, and not long after he had left, 
another English ship, the Pearl, arrived at Mergui, 
having on board William Hodges and John Hill, who 
had been appointed to administer Mergui after its 
expected capture. They found a French Governor 
and some French troops stationed at Mergui, and were 
reluctantly forced by the French and Siamese to proceed 
to Lopburi. They were at first imprisoned, together 
with many other Englishmen, but were later released 
by the King, who does not seem to have been at all 
anxious for war, and hoped to use them as intermediaries 
for arranging a peace. They remained in Siam for 
almost two years. 

On August nth, 1687, King Narai issued a declaration 
of war against the East India Company. In it he accused 
White and Burnaby of treacherously assisting Weltden, 
and threw on Weltden the sole responsibility for the 
massacre at Mergui. His Majesty carefully explained 
that he did not consider himself to be at war with the 
English Government. Many Englishmen, unconnected 
with the East India Company, remained in Siam, and 
do not appear to have been badly treated. 

The King was at that time preparing to receive the 
second embassy of Louis XIV, which arrived at Ayut'ia 



on September 27th, 1687. This embassy was far more 
imposing than that of de Chaumont. The envoys, 
de la Loub&re and Cbert, were accompanied by three 
men-of-war and four other ships, conveying 1,400 
French soldiers and 300 artificers, commanded by 
Monsieur Des Farges, a Marshal of France. The 
religious and commercial elements were also fully 

It is not clear whether King Narai expected so large 
a force, but his difficulties with the East India Company 
made him more disposed to welcome them than might 
otherwise have been the case. To us, at the present 
day, it seems like an act of madness on his part to admit 
so many foreign troops into his Kingdom. It was not, 
however, until after the world had beheld with amaze- 
ment the exploits of Dupleix and Clive in India that it 
was understood with what comparative ease a clever and 
capable man, backed by a few well-disciplined European 
troops, could overcome an Oriental Kingdom. 1 In 1687 
the idea that France could do any serious harm to 
Siam with 1,400 men would probably have seemed as 
grotesque to Louis XIV as to King Narai. A hundred 
years later the feat would have seemed far more 

The French envoys brought with them a French 
patent of nobility for Phaulkon. He became a Count 
and a Knight of the Order of St. Michael and St. Peter. 
Many valuable gifts were also sent to him by King 
Louis and Pope Innocent XL 

The French troops were not, wisely, all kept together. 
They were sent to man various forts, for instance, 
Bangkok, and, as we have seen, Mergui. 

1 These remarks, it need hardly be said, are not intended to apply to present- 
day conditions in countries such as Japan and Siam, which have modernised 
their systems of defence. 


On December ist, 1687, a new Treaty was signed, 
granting even greater privileges to the French East 
India Company than that of 1685. 

C6bert left Ayut'ia immediately after the Treaty was 
signed, and La Loub&re in January 1688, taking with 
him the fourth Siamese embassy to Europe. 1 The 
French troops remained, and seem to have had a most 
wretched time. Many of the soldiers died of fever, 
and the survivors made themselves very unpopular by 
their insolence ; in particular, they paid far more 
attention to the fair sex than was thought at all becoming. 

A strong anti-foreign party had by this time sprung 
up and had gained general popular support. The 
King's policy was distasteful both to the nobility and 
to the common people. The whole realm was filled with 
Europeans, the forts were garrisoned by foreign troops. 
The most powerful Minister was a Greek. To add to 
their troubles the country was at war with the East 
India Company, a war for which Phaulkon was supposed 
to be responsible. 

Moreover, the religious prejudices of the people were 
aroused. Catholic priests were in high favour and held 
valuable privileges. The King was suspected of Christian 
tendencies. He had no son, but had adopted a young 
man named P'ra Pia, 1 whom he hoped to make his 
successor. P'ra Pia was a Catholic. Phaulkon did all 
he could to encourage the spread of Catholicism, and 
became daily more and more unpopular. 

At the head of the anti-foreign party, if it can be so 
called, was P'ra P'etraja, a General who was in command 
of the elephants, and who had greatly distinguished" 

1 This embassy never got beyond the Cape of Good Hope. The envoys took 
with them more elephants, rhinoceroses and other animals as presents for the 
French King. All the animals died before reaching the Cape. 

1 According to some contemporary writers, P'ra Pia was commonly supposed 
to be a natural son of King Narai. 


himself in the Burmese war and won more laurels in 
a later expedition against Cambodia.* P'ra P'etraja 
was a man of humble origin. 1 He had, however, always 
been a favourite with King Narai. They had always 
been together, for P'ra P'etraja, like P'ya Kosa, was one 
of the King's foster-brothers. 

P'ra P'etraja was a man of small stature, but he was 
known to be brave and energetic. He had a commanding 
presence, and was well fitted to take command of the 
popular party. He hated Phaulkon, and his son, Nai 
Diia, who had recently been appointed Luang Sarasak, 
a violent and aggressive young man, is said to have on 
one occasion assaulted the Greek and knocked out two 
of his teeth. 

In March 1688 King Narai became seriously ill with 
dropsy. His symptoms were such as to render it unlikely 
that he would live for more than a few months. Im- 
mediately there began the usual intrigues as to the 
succession. The King had two brothers and a sister 
living. The elder of his brothers was called Chao Fa 
Ap'ai T'ot, and the younger is known to us by the nick- 
name of Chao Fa Noi. Both of them were greatly out 
of favour. He had also a daughter, Princess Yot'a 
T'ep. Phaulkon had some time before advised King 
Narai to proclaim his daughter as his heir, but the King 
had refused. The Greek now urged the King to appoint 
his adopted son, P'ra Pia, as his successor. P'ra P'etraja 
supported, or professed to support, the claims of Prince 
Ap'ai T'ot. 

'This expedition to Cambodia is not mentioned in Siamese history. From 

\ disputed by Nak Non. The latter was defeated by 1 
and fled to Cochin-China. 

Some writers say that he was a relative of King Narai. This may be true, 
as King P'rasat T'ong doubtless had plenty of relatives in more or less humble 


The King was induced, at the request of all the leading 
officials, to appoint P'ra P'etraja to act as Regent during 
his illness. P'ra P'etraja at once assumed control over 
the palace guards, and as he had the army at his back 
he was able to do exactly as he wished. 

P'ra Pia was first got out of the way. He was enticed 
out of the King's apartments and ruthlessly murdered. 
This deed opened the eyes of the dying monarch to the 
treachery around him, but he was helpless ; the re- 
proaches with which he assailed P'ra P'etraja and Luang 
Sarasak were not likely to turn them from their purpose. 

Phaulkon now sent to Bangkok begging Des Farges 
to bring up the French troops there to his assistance. 
Des Farges set out, but was told that the King was 
dead, and was persuaded to return to Bangkok. 

Phaulkon was arrested on a charge of treason, and 
after being treated for several days with great cruelty, 
was executed on June 5th, 1688. He died bravely, 
protesting that he was innocent, and that his whole 
policy had been directed by three motives the glory 
of God, the service of the King, and the interests of the 

Thus ended the earthly career of one of the most 
remarkable of European adventurers in the East. 
In his short life of only forty years, Phaulkon rose, 
from the position of cabin-boy on a small ship, to be 
a Chao P'ya of Siam, a Count of France, addressed as 
friend by Kings and Popes, and entrusted with the 
destinies of a powerful Kingdom. True to his name, he 
soared high, and it must be admitted that he was a great 
man, and may have had noble aims. It has never been 
proved that he intended to bring Siam under French 
dominion, though doubtless his policy was one which 
might, in time, have had such a result. 


Phaulkon left a widow, a Japanese by birth, and a 
son. The widow, after many vicissitudes, became 
superintendent of the kitchen to King T'ai Sra, and 
was still living in 1717. The son grew up and became 
a Captain in the Siamese Navy. He died in poverty 
in 1754, leaving a son and several daughters. Phaulkon 's 
grandson, John Phaulkon, and one of his grand- 
daughters, were among the prisoners taken by the 
Burmese on the capture of Ayut'ia in 1767. They 
returned to Siam, and were still living in 1771. It is 
more than possible that there may be descendants of 
Phaulkon living in Siam at the present day. 

After the death of Phaulkon, P'ra P'etraja, in the name 
of the King, ordered Des Farges to bring up his troops 
to Lopburi. Des Farges refused, and an attack was 
consequently begun against the fort at Bangkok. At 
the same time a persecution of the native Christians 
was commenced. 

P'ra P'etraja had himself no desire to usurp the 
throne. His sole object was to get rid of Phaulkon and 
compel the French to leave the Kingdom. His son, 
Luang Sarasak, however, was more ambitious. In order 
to force his father's hand, he caused the King's two 
brothers to be arrested, and had them both executed in 
the usual way, by sewing them up in a velvet sack and 
clubbing them to death. This step rendered it impossible 
for P'ra P'etraja to draw back. 

Two days later, on July nth, 1688, King Narai died, 
and P'ra P'etraja was at once proclaimed King. 1 

King Narai is more familiar to us than any other of 
the Kings of Ayut'ia. The following description of 
him is adapted from Father Tachard, who met and 

1 According to Turpin, King Narai, before his death, caused his daughter to 
be proclaimed Queen. 


spoke with him several times : " The King is below 
the average height, but very straight and well set up. 
His demeanour is attractive, and his manners full of 
gentleness and kindness. He is lively and active, and 
an enemy to sloth. He is always either in the forest 
hunting elephants, or in his palace, attending to State 
affairs. He is not fond of war, but when forced to take 
up the sword, no Eastern monarch has a stronger passion 
for glory." 

King Narai was, without doubt, a remarkable man, and 
it is pitiable that such a man should have ended his 
days so miserably. The glamour with which his name 
has been surrounded by contemporary French writers 
must not, however, blind us to the fact that his foreign 
policy was a very unwise one, and must, had he lived 
longer, have brought his Kingdom into serious danger. 

King Narai was not responsible for any great amount 
of legislation during his long reign. Most of the Laws 
attributed to him are mere Regulations as to procedure. 
The most interesting of his Laws is one of the Articles 
of the Law known as the " Law of Thirty-six Clauses." 
This Article, dating from the year 1687, provides for 
the punishment of offences similar to Champerty and 
Maintenance, Any man who prosecuted or defended 
a case under the pretence that he was a relative of one 
of the parties rendered himself liable to very severe 


The order of events in connection with the death of Phaulkon 
and the usurpation of PVa P'etraja is differently given by various 
contemporary authorities. In the version here given, compiled 
from several contemporary accounts, the main facts are set down 
in their most probable order. 




P'RA P'ETRAJA, on becoming King, assumed the title 
of Ramesuen, 1 but he is usually known as King P'etraja. 
Having got rid of all the male heirs to the throne, he 
proceeded to marry both the surviving female relatives 
of King Narai, namely his sister, Princess Yot'a T'ip, 
and his daughter, Princess Yot'a T'ep. 1 

The new King's son, Luang Sarasak, was made Maha 
Uparat, and all his kinsmen received high rank and titles. 

The persecution of Christians was continued with 
great rigour. Most of the French Jesuits were imprisoned 
and many native Christians were either killed or severely 
punished. It must be borne in mind, however, that 
this persecution was more political than religious. 
Catholicism was proscribed as being identified with the 
French. The Portuguese and Dutch do not appear to 
have been molested. As for the English, most of them 
were in gaol, as a consequence of the war with the East 
India Company. 

The French garrison at Bangkok still held out, but the 
King entered into negotiations with them, as a result 
of which it was agreed, on September 3Oth, 1688, that 
all the French troops should leave Siam in three vessels 

1 He is also known by the posthumous title of Maha Burut (the Great Man). 

* According to Turpin, King Narai, on his death-bed, nominated this Princess 
as his successor. 



to be provided by the King to take them to Pondicherry. 

In the following month the King was crowned with 
great pomp, and celebrated the event by releasing all 
the French and English prisoners. 

The French at Mergui and at the forts in some other 
parts of Siam were less fortunate than their compatriots 
at Bangkok. Many of them were killed and many more 
were captured. 

Des Farges and his troops, numbering about five 
hundred, and accompanied by about thirty-six English- 
men, left Bangkok towards the end of November, in 
three Siamese merchant ships and one French man-of- 
war. Des Farges had been made to leave behind his 
two sons and the Bishop of Metallopolis as hostages for 
the return of the ships and crews. The P'rak'lang 1 
made the mistake of releasing these hostages too soon, 
and Des Farges took advantage of this to seize, on his 
part, two Siamese nobles and the King's factor and take 
them with him as hostages. The Siamese considered 
this as a breach of faith, and as a consequence the 
recently liberated priests all went back to gaol, and the 
persecution of Christians was renewed with double 
vigour. The Bishop of Metallopolis was treated with 
the greatest cruelty, and many Frenchmen were 

This second persecution, if we may call it so/ was 
purely anti-French. The English, who had been liberated 
at the coronation, remained at liberty, though nominally 
at war with Siam, and Turpin relates that they did much 
to alleviate the sufferings of the French priests. 

As for the Dutch, King P'etraja regarded them with 
special favour, and in the same month that saw the 
departure of the French troops, a new and very favourable 

1 This P'rak'lang was P'ya Kosa (Pan) the former ambassador to Louis XIV. 


Treaty was made with the Netherlands East India 
Company, confirming the monopoly of the trade in 
hides, granted by King Narai, and conceding, in addition, 
a monopoly of the trade in tin. 

Hodges and Hill, the two Englishmen, who had been 
forcibly brought to Ayut'ia in 1688, remained there for 
some time. Hill left with the French, but Hodges 
remained until May 1689, when he returned to Fort 
St. George bearing overtures for peace from King P'etraja. 
Nothing came of this, but by this time both sides had 
lost all interest in the war, which was only prosecuted in 
a desultory and half-hearted fashion. 

At the end of 1689 Des Farges returned to Puket. 
The report was spread in Ayut'ia that this was a punitive 
expedition against Siam, and some colour was lent to the 
rumour by the fact that the French General was accom- 
panied by three ships. As a result, the persecution of 
the French and native Christians, which had been slack- 
ening, was resumed. The unfortunate Bishop of Metal- 
lopolis, who seems always to have been the principal 
scapegoat, suffered many indignities, and many of the 
remaining Frenchmen lost their lives. Soon, however, a 
letter came from Des Farges saying that he desired to 
conclude peace. At the same time, the Siamese hostages 
were sent back. All the French were then released, and 
the missionaries were permitted to continue their work. 
Religious freedom was thus restored, in accordance with 
the immemorial custom of the Kingdom. 

Des Forges was accompanied by Father Tachard, the 
historian of de Chaumont's embassy. Tachard went 
to "Ayut'ia, and proclaimed that he was authorised by 
the King of France to conclude peace with Siam. Noth- 
ing definite was settled, and Tachard left again at the end 
of 1690. 


King P'etraja had no desire for hostilities either with 
France or with the English East India Company. He 
had eradicated foreign political influence in Siam and he 
was satisfied. In June 1690 Elihu Yale, President of 
Fort St. George, wrote a very friendly letter to the P'rak'- 
lang, congratulating King P'etraja on his accession, but 
at the same time reiterating the Company's claim to 
65,000, which was the original cause of the war. 

King P'etraja was the less inclined, at this time, to 
quarrel with foreigners, as he was experiencing serious 
internal troubles. A rebellion had broken out at Nak'on 
Nayok, to the east of the capital. The leader was an 
impostor named T'am T'ien, who had formerly been an 
attendant of Prince Ap'ai T'ot, the brother of King Narai. 
He gave out that he was the Prince, and gained a great 
number of adherents. The Uparat, Prince,, Sarasak, 
who was on an elephant-hunting expedition when the 
rebellion broke out, narrowly escaped capture by the 

The pseudo-Prince and his army reached Ayut'ia, 
and might, perhaps, have captured the city. A lucky shot, 
however, killed the elephant on which the impostor was 
riding. He fell off and was injured, and his rabble 
army lost heart and dispersed in disorder. He himself 
was captured and executed. 

The inhabitants of many districts near Nak'on Nayok, 
Lopburi and Saraburi, who had been implicated in this 
rising, fled from their homes for fear of punishment, so 
that that part of the country was almost depopulated. 1 

In 1691 further overtures for peace weT ^JjtfffSS^ 
East India Company, but the P'rak'lang^^^^^Wl 
no hope of payment of the Company^BcHprr He saSl 

that Phaulkon and White, who were twHjpi respppfW 

m irs*n flt H^ ^ - 
fli^hjfj/^ijj JUT* ~. % 

1 According to Burmese history, these fugitivflMftOki in &urife&. *' 


for the war, had wronged the King greatly and owed him 
much, and that as the King had no money to discharge 
the debt, the Company had better seize the estates of 
White and Phaulkon, which had been carried to England. 

After this, no further negotiations for peace were 
made, but the war was allowed to die a natural death. 

The P'rak'lang who carried on this correspondence 
with the East India Company appears to have been 
P'ya Kosa Tibodi (Pan), formerly P'ra Wisut Sunt'orn, 
King Narai's ambassador to Louis XIV, who was 
appointed by King P'etraja to the title and position 
previously held by his brother under King Narai. His 
end was a sad one ; he fell into disfavour with King 
P'etraja, and was so cruelly treated that he committed 

Towards the end of 1691, the Governors of K'orat and 
Nak'on Srit'ammarat rebelled. An expedition was sent 
first against K'orat, consisting of 10,000 men ; they failed 
to subdue the rebel city, and the General in command 
asked for reinforcements, much to the fury of the King, 
who threatened dire consequences if matters were delayed 
much longer. In the end the town was captured by 
flying kites, to which were attached flaming braziers ; 
these fell into the city and set the roofs of the houses on 
fire. The Governor, P'ya Yomarat, escaped to the 
Peninsula and joined the Srit'ammarat rebels. 

In 1692 another army of 10,000 men, supported by a 
fleet, was sent to cope with the rebels in the south. They 
first fell in with P'ya Yomarat, the fugitive Governor of 
K'orat, who was waiting near Jaiya with a large force. 
He was suddenly attacked by night, but his army made 
a stern resistance, and P'ya Yomarat himself refused to 
surrender, but died, 'sword in hand, fighting bravely to 
the end. 


The siege of Nak'on Srit'ammarat, which followed, was 
long and troublesome. The Governor, P'ya Ram Dejo, 
a Malay, was a man of great determination. His fleet was 
destroyed and his army was defeated again and again, but 
he refused to surrender. At last all his supplies were 
finished and his people dying of starvation. He then killed 
his wife and family, and escaped by boat, with fifty 
followers, by the connivance of the Siamese Admiral, 
P'ya Rajabangsan. This Admiral, also a Malay, was an 
old friend and companion in arms of the rebel Governor. 
P'ya Rajabangsan gave his life for his friend, and his 
severed head was set over the gate of the vanquished 

In 1697 King Sadet of Cambodia sent a present of a 
female white elephant to King P'etraja. This shows that 
the traditional suzerainty of Siam over Cambodia was 
acknowledged during this King's reign. 

In October 1698 Father Tachard again visited Ayut'ia 
and tried to conclude a new treaty between Siam and 
France. The King asked for the advice of the Dutch 
residents, who, of course, urged the danger of ever again 
allowing the French to obtain a foothold in the Kingdom. 
Father Tachard aggravated the King's misgivings by 
talking about building a fort at Tenasserim and a factory 
at P'etchaburi. This so disquieted the King that he sent 
troops to both those places to be ready in case of a French 
invasion. Nothing was arranged with Tachard, and from 
this time onwards France abandoned all political interest 
in Siam, though the Jesuit missionaries continued their 
work. Their success does not seem to have been great, 
for Alexander Hamilton, who visited Siam in 1720, 
said that at that time there were not more than seventy 

1 King Sadet Jai Jett'a of Cambodia reigned from 1690 to 1716, with intervals. 
He abdicated and entered the priesthood several times. The capture of a female 
white elephant in 1696 is recorded in Cambodian history. 


Christians in the Kingdom " and they the most dissolute, 
lazy, thievish rascals that were to be found in the country/ 9 

In 1699 another serious rebellion broke out at K'orat. 
It was brought about by a Lao visionary or fanatic named 
Bun K'wang. This man had originally only twenty-eight 
followers, but his pretensions to possess supernatural 
powers so terrorised the Governor and population of 
K'orat that he was allowed to set himself up as ruler of 
that city under the very nose of the Governor. That 
worthy seems to have been undecided whom he should 
fear most, the magician or the King. In the end he 
persuaded Bun K'wang to go to Lopburi, but by that time 
the rebel had collected an army of four thousand men. 
The King, owing to the superstitious folly of the people 
of K'orat, was obliged to send an army to Lopburi. 
The people of K'orat who had accompanied the rebels 
now became ashamed of their weakness, and at the 
King's command pulled themselves together and ventured 
to capture the magician and his twenty-eight original 
supporters. They were handed over to the Royal army 
and were all executed. 

In the same year (1699) King P'etraja was called upon 
to interfere in the affairs of Luang P'rabang. That 
State had been greatly disturbed for several years owing 
to the claims of various rival Princes to the throne. 
Finally a certain Prince P'rachao Ong Wiet had set him- 
self upas KingatWiengchan, and a cousin of his, Prince 
Kingkisarat, had seized Luang P'rabang. The latter 
prepared to invade Wiengchan, and Prince Ong Wiet 
sent to apply to Siam for aid, offering to cement the alliance 
by the gift of his beautiful daughter. A Siamese army 
was at once sent to his aid, but no fighting was needed, 
for the Prince of Luang P'rabang, realising the futility 
of attacking the combined armies of Wiengchan and 


Siam, entered into a Treaty with his cousin, whereby the 
principality was divided between them, one to have his 
capital at Luang P'rabang and the other at Wiengchan. 1 

As for the beautiful Princess, she was sent to Ayut'ia, 
and was presented to the Uparat, Prince Sarasak. 

Early in I7O3 1 King P'etraja, who was then aged 
seventy-one, fell ill. Besides the Uparat, the King had 
two little sons, named respectively Chao K'wan, borne 
to him by Princess Yot'a T'ip, King Narai's sister, and 
Tras Noi, the child of Princess Yot'a T'ep, that monarch's 
daughter. Chao K'wan was aged about fourteen and 
Tras Noi about ten. Chao K'wan was looked upon by 
many people as a likely candidate for the throne, as being 
a descendant of King Prasat T'ong. The Uparat there- 
fore determined to put him out of the way. Pretending 
that he was going to make him a present of a new horse, 
he enticed the poor boy into his palace, and caused him 
to be murdered there. The victim's mother ran weeping 
to the bedside of the dying King, and denounced the 
murderer. The King roused himself to declare that 
Prince Sarasak should not succeed to the throne, and 
sending hastily for his maternal cousin, P'ra P'ijai 
Surin, he proclaimed him as his heir. ' The same night 
he died. 

King P'etraja was not nearly so black as he has been 
painted. Just as contemporary French writers lavished 
absurdly extravagant praises on their patron, King Narai, 
so also they denounced their enemy, King P'etraja, in 

1 Luang P'rabang history does not mention the intervention of Siam in the 

1 This date is taken from a table drawn up by Prince Damrong. The P'ong- 
sawadan says that King P'etraja died in 1697. Turpin says 1700. The book 
called Statement of K'un Luang Ha Wat, supposed to have been dictated in Burma 
by the ex-King Ut'ump'on of Ayut'ia, gives the date as 1701. 

* To have made Tras Noi his heir would, of course, have been equivalent to 
sentencing him to death. Tras Noi was more fortunate than many other Princes 
in a like position. He later became a priest, greatly renowned both for his know- 
ledge of religious matters and foreign languages, and died, so far as is known, 
a natural death. 


excessive terms. King P'etraja was a rough, stern old 
soldier who found himself forced by circumstances to 
assume the leadership of the anti-French party, and was 
led on, step by step, to usurp the throne. 

Even a very eminent Siamese authority has recorded 
of King P'etraja that " he was a usurper, and not allowed 
an honourable place among the Kings of Siam." But, 
after all, the family at whose expense he usurped the 
throne were the children of that far more cruel and dis- 
honourable usurper, King Prasat T'ong. 

Certainly, King P'etraja was not a model character, 
but neither was he a " vile scoundrel," as stated by 
Turpin. His name deserves to be respected in Siam, 
for he was undoubtedly instrumental in saving the 
country from foreign domination. 

P'ra P'ijai Surin, who had been nominated heir to the 
throne by King P'etraja on his death-bed, was a harmless 
nonentity who had no desire to fight Prince Sarasak for 
the crown. On his cousin's death he at once went to the 
palace of the Uparat and begged him to accept the reins 
of Government. The Uparat, after some show of 
reluctance, became King. He is known to Siamese 
historians as P'rachao SUa, or King Tiger. 1 

During the reign of this King, which lasted for just 
under seven years, no very important event occurred. 
The country was at peace internally and externally. 
The King devoted himself to hunting, shooting, fishing, 
and other less creditable amusements. In his more serious 
moods he erected and repaired the temples, notably the 
temple at P'rabat, and improved the canals, especially 

1 He was born at P'ichit in 1662, after the expedition to Chiengmai. In later 
times a legend sprang up that he was an unacknowledged son of King Narai by 
a. daughter of P r ya Sen Muang of Chiengmai, who was married to P'ra P'etraja 
when pregnant. No contemporary writers mention this story. The compilers 
of the Pongsawodan have accepted this myth and embodied it in their book, 
but they have not altered other passages to suit it, and repeatedly refer to Prince 
Sarasak as the son of King P'etraja. 






the canal known as K'long Mahajai, between Bangkok 
and Tachin, which was deepened and straightened partly 
in the reign of " King Tiger " and partly in that of his 

It is related of this King that on one occasion, when he 
was being rowed along K'long Mahajai in his royal barge, 
the steersman carelessly ran the barge aground, damaging 
the prow. According to the law of that time, this was 
an offence punishable by death. The steersman begged 
that he might be executed at once, but the King, being in 
a gracious mood, caused a mud image to be made, and 
had it decapitated in the man's stead. This did not 
satisfy the steersman, who pleaded piteously for death, 
lest the Law might be brought into contempt. The 
King ended by humouring him, so he was beheaded after 
all, and a shrine was erected to his memory on the bank 
of the canal, which can be seen there to this day. 

" King Tiger " was fond of going about in disguise. 
On one occasion he attended a village boxing-match, 
and challenged successively two local boxers. He 
defeated them both, and was paid two ticals by the ring- 

Would that all his actions had been as harmless 1 He 
was a cruel, intemperate and depraved man. Turpin 
says that he married Princess Yot'a T'ep, 4 one of his 
father's widows. One of the gates of his palace became 
known as the " Gate of Corpses/' from the numerous 
little coffins which were borne out through it, containing 
murdered children, victims of his lust and cruelty. 

In his fits of fury he was prepared to sacrifice even his 
own flesh and blood. Once, when hunting elephants, 
he sent his two sons ahead to arrange a causeway across 
a marsh. When crossing it, his elephant sank into the 

1 Daughter of King NaraL 


mud. He flew into a passion, accused the two Princes 
of a plot to cause him to fall from his elephant and then 
murder him, and would have had them both flogged to 
death had not the aged Chief Queen of King P'etraja 
interceded for them. 

During this reign Siam was afflicted with a most fearful 
famine and drought. l The rice was all exhausted, and 
the waters of the Menam River were covered with an 
evil-smelling green slime. Most of the fish died, and the 
few that remained were poisonous to eat. Sickness 
broke out, and the King, fearing that the use of the 
polluted water would foster the spread of disease, forbade 
the people to drink it. 

The people, who could obtain no other water, became 
restless, and a rebellion was imminent. Thereupon it 
was announced that the god Indra* had appeared at the 
city gate and had declared that the green scum was a 
panacea for all the diseases in the land. The whole 
populace rushed to the river to anoint themselves with 
the scum and the polluted water. After fifteen days 
heavy rains descended, causing the water to overflow, 
and the famine and disease came to an end. 

King P'rachao Slla, worn out by drink and debauchery, 
brought his short and inglorious reign to a conclusion by 
dying in the year 1709, aged forty-four. The nickname 
by which he is known shows what his subjects thought of 
him. Modern readers will, perhaps, compare him to 
some less noble beast than a tiger. 

King P'rachao Slia, at the time of his death, was on bad 
terms with his eldest son, and it was his intention that his 

1 This is taken from Turpin, who, as usual, gives no date. There was a severe 
famine at Chienginai in 1703, and the famine in southern Siam may have been 
in the same year. 

Buddhism does not deny the existence of the Brahman deities. Indra and 
several others are recognised in Siam and are looked upon as powerful angels 
or spirits They are not, however, worshipped by orthodox Buddhists 


second son should succeed him. The young Prince, 
however, waived all claims to the throne, and the 
elder brother succeeded without opposition. He 
assumed the title of King Pu'mint'araja, but is known 
to Siamese historians as King T'ai Sra. 1 His 
younger brother, Prince Bant'un Noi, was appointed 
Maha Uparat. 

King T'ai Sra was twenty-eight years of age when he 
ascended the throne. The first ten years of his reign were 
peaceful and uneventful, but in 1717 he was induced to 
intervene in the tangled politics of Cambodia. 

In 1714 a young King, Sri T'ammaraja, had succeeded 
to the throne of Cambodia. His uncle, the ex-King 
Keo Fa, who had abdicated some years previously, de- 
clared war on the young King, and called in a Cochin- 
Chinese army to his aid. King Sri T'ammaraja was 
dethroned, and fled, with his younger brother, to Ayut'ia, 
to appeal for the help of King T'ai Sra. 

After a fruitless attempt to obtain the restoration of 
the fugitive King by peaceful means, two large Siamese 
armies were sent to Cambodia. 1 The main army, under 
P'ya Chakri, advanced by way of Siemrap. The smaller 
army was supported by a considerable fleet, both army 
and fleet being under the leadership of a Chinese who 
had recently been made P'rak'lang, with the usual 
title of P'ya Kosa T'ibodi. P'ya Kosa proved to be both 
incompetent and cowardly. He advanced along the 
sea coast and captured and burnt the town of Bant^ay 
M'eas. 1 His army was, however, attacked there by 

1 This name means " King End-of-the-lake " and is derived from the situation 
of the palace in which he resided. 

Turpin says that the army was of 50,000 men, and another 20,000 with the 
fleet. Both Turpin and Hamilton (Astley's Voyages, London, 1811) make no men- 
tion of any Siamese success, and evidently only refer to the progress of the army 
under P'ya Kosa. Cambodian history admits that King Keo Fa agreed to render 
homage to Siam. 

' On the Gulf of Siam. Better known as Hatien. 


a combined Cambodian and Cochin-Chinese force, and 
suffered one of the greatest disasters recorded in Siamese 
history. The soldiers were in poor condition for fighting, 
as their provisions had run short and they had been 
forced to kill and eat their baggage animals. This 
unaccustomed diet made many of them ill. Nevertheless 
they were resisting the enemy bravely when P'ya Kosa, 
whose fleet was being attacked by a much smaller enemy 
fleet, fell into a panic owing to the loss of a few of his 
ships, and fled with the remainder out to sea. This 
threw the land army into consternation, and they turned 
and fled in disorder, losing a very large number of men 
and all their artillery. 

The northern army, under P'ya Chakri, was much 
more successful. The Cambodians were defeated in 
several small actions, and the Siamese advanced to 
Udong, at that time the capital. King Keo Fa thereupon 
offered to do homage by sending the usual gold and 
silver trees as a symbol of subjection to Siam. His offer 
was accepted, and he was allowed to remain on his 
throne without further interference. It must be admitted 
that this was only a partial success for Siam, as the 
avowed object of the expedition was to restore King 
Sri T'ammaraja, which was never done. Considering 
the utter defeat of P'ya Kosa's army, the partial 
success gained by P'ya Chakri was not, however, to 
be despised. 

The rest of King T'ai Sra's reign was spent 
in peaceful pursuits. He completed the Mahajai 
canal, the redigging of which had been begun by 
his father, and built or repaired a number of 

When King T'ai Sra's sons began to grow up, he 
made the same fatal mistake which had led to so much 


bloodshed in the past. He tried to alter the order of 
succession, and to pass over the claims of his brother, 
the Maha Uparat, in favour of his own eldest son, 
Prince Naren. This Prince, who was very fond of 
his uncle, declined to agree to what he regarded as 
an act of injustice, and not long after retired into a 

The King, however, was determined that his brother 
should not succeed him. He fell ill not long afterwards, 
and feeling that his end was near, he proclaimed as his 
successor his second son, Prince Ap'ai. The Uparat 
protested, offering to forgo his claim to the crown in 
favour of his eldest nephew, but not for Prince Ap'ai, 
who had no reasonable right to become King, Uncle 
and nephew began to collect their adherents, with a 
view to contesting the matter by force of arms. In the 
midst of these warlike preparations King T'ai Sra died, 
in January 1733, aged fifty-four. 

King T'ai Sra is spoken of by Siamese historians as a 
cruel and sinful man, mainly, it would seem, on the 
ground that he was extremely fond of hunting and 
fishing. He does not, however, appear to have been 
hard or unmerciful to his subjects, and he cannot be 
regarded as a bad or unsuccessful ruler. The worst 
error of his life was made when he was dying, for his 
unjust attempt to alter the succession was the cause of 
much bloodshed and misery. 

During his reign (in 1717) important events took 
place in Chiengmai. A Lao named T'ep Singh raised 
a rebellion against the Burmese, many of whom were 
massacred, including the Burmese Prince, Min Renra, 
a cousin of the King of Burma, T'ep Singh only ruled 
Chiengmai for a short time. He was in his turn ousted by 
a Luang P'rabang Prince, Ong K'am, who routed a 


Burmese army sent against him in 1728, and was after- 
wards crowned as Prince of Chiengmai. Chiengmai, 
which had been under Burmese rule ever since 1556, 
maintained a precarious independence from 1728 till 
1763, though much disturbed by internal strife during 
most of that period. 



THE accession of several of the Kings of Ayut'ia had been 
accompanied by disturbances, but in every previous 
instance the conflict had been short and sharp, and had 
not involved great loss of life. The contest which 
followed the death of King T'ai Sra was of quite a different 
kind. It lasted for several days, and was the cause of 
great bloodshed and suffering. 

Prince Ap'ai's party was numerically stronger than 
that of his uncle, the Uparat. He had an army of about 
40,000 men, and most of the high officials were with 
him. The Uparat had only some 5,000 men, but his 
party was united, while that of Prince Ap'ai was torn 
asunder by internal jealousies. The Uparat, moreover, 
could count on the support of most of the inhabitants 
of Ayut'ia. 

After a good deal of firing between the two palaces, 
P'ya P'rak'lang and P'ya Chakri, the principal supporters 
of the young Prince, advanced with their forces against 
the palace of the Uparat, routing his followers and 
driving them within the walls. The same night, however, 
the Uparat made a sortie, drove back the besiegers, and 
advanced towards the Grand Palace. The troops of 
Prince Ap'ai now began to desert him in large numbers, 
and P'ya P'rak'lang and P'ya Chakri lost courage and 
escaped from the palace. Prince Ap'ai, finding himself 



almost deserted, fled away by night, accompanied by 
his younger brother, Prince Borommet, His elder 
brother, the Priest-Prince Naren, who had declined to 
accept the crown, retired to his monastery. 

The Uparat now assumed the crown, with the title 
of King Maha T'ammaraja II, but he is usually known 
by the name of King Boromokot. 

The two fugitive Princes got away by boat, with very 
few followers, and concealed themselves among the 
reeds of a swamp. Here they remained hidden for a 
week, but hunger at last compelled them to send out a 
trusted retainer to buy food. He was recognised, the 
swamp was searched, and the Princes were captured and 
taken back to Ayut'ia, where they met with the usual 
fate of unsuccessful competitors for the crown. 

P'ya P'rak'lang and P'ya Chakri assumed the yellow 
robe. They were, however, brought back to Ayut'ia 1 
and quietly despatched by night, as the King hesitated 
tq bring them to trial, for fear of offending the priesthood. 

The new King took a terrible revenge on his opponents, 
very large numbers of whom were executed. 1 So great 
was his resentment that he even thought of refusing 
to cremate the corpse of the late King, and expressed 
an intention of flinging it into the river. His better 
nature, however, triumphed, and he abstained from 
thus avenging himself upon the dead. 

In 1733 a Chinese rising took place, and three hundred 
Chinese attacked the palace. They were, however, 
dispersed, and forty of their ringleaders were captured 
and executed. 

King Boromokot had a good deal of trouble with his 
children. At the time of his accession his family was 

1 Turpin says that they came back, relying on the yellow robe for protection. 
'According to Turpin, more persons were executed than were killed in the 


already a very large one, and when he died in 1756 he 
left no less than 123 children, fifteen by his three Queens, 
and 108 by inferior wives. 

His eldest son, who bore the title of Kron K'un Sena 
P'itak, was a violent and unruly youth. He bore a 
great hatred to his cousin, Prince Naren, for whom the 
King had a great partiality. On one occasion Prince 
Naren, who was still a member of the Buddhist priest- 
hood, went to the palace to visit the King, who was 
unwell. Prince Sena P'itak made a savage attack on 
him with a dagger. He was not injured, but the King, 
on hearing of this crime, was so incensed that he gave 
orders for his son tp be flogged. The Priest-Prince 
interceded for the culprit and even took him to live 
under his protection in his temple. The offender was 
ultimately pardoned, but two of his half-brothers, who 
were implicated in the crime, were flogged to death. 

In 1740 Prince Sena P'itak was appointed Maha 

At this time Siam, though somewhat depopulated, 
was seemingly in a most happy and prosperous condition. 
Every writer refers to the reign of King Boromokot as 
though it was the golden age of Siam, and speaks of the 
magnificence of the Court and the happiness of the 
people. The truth is, however, that the long period of 
peace had done the country no good. Rich and poor 
alike had become idle and luxurious, and were unfit 
for warfare or fatigue, 

In Burma events were happening which were destined 
to have serious results for Siam. In 1734 the capital of 
Burma was moved to Ava. This change was unpopular 
among the Peguans, and stirred up their latent dis- 
affection. In 1737 the Burmese Governor of Pegu, 
Maung Tha Aung, rebelled against the King of Burma, 


Maha T'ammaraja Dhiphati, and proclaimed himself 
independent. He was, however, murdered by his 
Peguan subjects in 1740. The King's uncle, who was 
then sent to govern Pegu, was at first well received, but 
later shared the fate of Maung Tha Aung, and a Shan 
priest, who pretended to be a scion of the Burmese 
Royal Family, was chosen in 1742 to be King of 
independent Pegu, with the title of Saming T'oh. 1 

The Burmese Governors of Martaban and Tavoy, 
who remained faithful to Ava, found themselves cut off 
from all assistance. In despair, they fled, with several 
hundred followers, to Ayut'ia, and appealed to King 
Boromokot for an asylum. He received them with 
great kindness, and provided them with dwelling-places. 
From this time onwards his policy became more and 
more pro-Burmese. He probably thought that the 
power of Burma was waning, and that it was unwise to 
encourage or assist the Peguans, who seemed likely to 
become too powerful. The new King of Pegu, more- 
over, caused personal offence to King Boromokot by 
writing to suggest an alliance with Siam, and at the 
same time asking for a Siamese Princess in marriage. 
The Siamese monarch refused, with some indignation, 
to marry any of his daughters to a man whom he looked 
upon as a mere upstart. Saming T'oh was more fortun- 
ate in another direction, for he obtained as one of his 
Queens a daughter of Chao Ong K'am, the Prince of 

In 1744 the King of Burma sent an embassy to Ayut'ia 
the first for over a hundred years to thank King 
Boromokot for his generous treatment of the fugitives 
from Pegu, and to obtain, if possible, Siamese aid to 
subdue the Peguans, or, at the very least, a promise 

1 Or Mintara. 


of neutrality. The Burmese envoys were very honour- 
ably received, and in 1746 a Siamese embassy had an 
equally warm welcome at Ava. The Siamese envoys 
arrived at an opportune moment, for the Peguans, who 
had captured Prome in 1744, were marching on Ava. 
The arrival of the Siamese envoys was exaggerated into 
a report that a Siamese army was on its way to assist 
the Burmese. The Peguans retired, and on their way 
back were attacked and defeated by the Burmese. 

Saming T'oh's marriage to a Chiengmai Princess was 
his undoing. He had another wife, the daughter of one 
P'ya Dala. She complained that she was being neglected, 
and instigated her father to plot against her husband. 
In 1746 P'ya Dala took advantage of the absence of 
Saming T'oh at an elephant hunt to hatch a conspiracy 
against him. Saming T'oh was forced to retire to Chieng- 
mai, and P'ya Dala became King of Pegu. The fugitive 
King, after a fruitless attempt to regain his throne with 
the help of a Chiengmai army, proceeded in 1750 to 
Ayut'ia, to beg for the aid of King Boromokot. The 
latter still cherished some feelings of resentment against 
Saming T'oh for having dared to suggest a matrimonial 
alliance, and though the luckless fugitive was at first 
received well, he was before long arrested and cast into 

P'ya Dala now sent an envoy to demand the surrender 
of Saming T'oh, but King Boromokot rightly refused 
to send away to certain death a man who had sought 
his protection. As, however, Saming T'oh's presence 
at Ayut'ia seemed likely to be embarrassing, he was 
put on board a Chinese junk to be taken to China. He 
was, however, let loose on the coast of Annam, and 
found his way back to Chiengmai. His subsequent 
history may as well be related here. In 1756, hearing 


of Alaungpaya's victories over P'ya Dala, he left Chieng- 
mai with several hundred followers, and offered his 
services to the Burmese usurper. Alaungpaya, dis- 
trusting him, detained him in custody until his death, 
which occurred in 1758. His career was certainly 
a strange and romantic one. 

In the year 1750 King Boromokot was called upon to 
interfere in the affairs of Cambodia. King Rama T'ibodi 
of that country, who succeeded to the throne in 1748, 
was expelled less than a year later by a rival claimant, 
Prince Satt'a, with the aid of a Cochin-Chinese army. 
A Siamese force was sent to set matters right, but Prince 
Ong Eng, the brother of Prince Satt'a, made formal 
submission to Siam, and Prince Satt'a was allowed to 
remain on the throne. On his death a few months 
later, King Rama T'ibodi was once more placed on the 
throne of Cambodia. It would appear that at this period 
the right of Siam to regulate the succession was not 
seriously disputed by any party in Cambodia, 

In March 1752 the Uparaja of Pegu, a brother of 
P'ya Dala, captured Ava and took away the King of 
Burma as a prisoner to Hanthawadi. 1 The whole of 
Burma thus fell under the sway of King P'ya Dala, and 
it seemed as though the power of Burma had vanished 
for ever. Immediately, however, the standard of rebel- 
lion was raised by the petty Burmese headman of the 
village of Moksobo (now called Shwebo). In a short 
time this man, usually known by his assumed title of 
Alaungpaya, had collected an army of five thousand 
men. In December 1753 he retook Ava, and in May 
1757 Hanthawadi was captured, and P'ya Dala taken 

1 According to Burmese history the King of Ava was executed in 1754 for 
conspiring against P'ya Dala. A Peguan chronicle, however, states that he 
lived until 1757 and died of a broken heart during the siege of Hanthawadi by 


prisoner, thus re-establishing Burmese supremacy and 
bringing to an end the short-lived Peguan Kingdom. 

While these stirring events were happening in Burma, 
King Boromokot was occupied with religious and 
domestic affairs. In 1753 an embassy was sent to Ayut'ia 
by the King of Ceylon, to ask for the loan of some 
Siamese Buddhist priests to purify and reform the 
Buddhist Church in his Kingdom, which was stated to 
have become very effete and corrupt. King Boromokot, 
much flattered by the compliment thus paid to the 
purity of the faith in his own realm, and to himself as 
a religious monarch, received the Ceylonese ambassadors 
with great pomp, and sent a commission of fifteen Buddhist 
priests to Ceylon. They later returned, and reported 
that they had been very successful in their purifying 
and reforming mission. The Chief of this mission 
was a monk named Upali. Most of the Buddhist 
monks in Ceylon at the present day belong to the sect 
called Upaliwong, or Sayamwong, which owes its origin 
to King Boromokot's mission. 

In April 1756 King Boromokot made the discovery 
that his eldest son, the Maha Uparat, was carrying on 
an intrigue with two of his own wives. The King's 
fury passed all bounds, and he gave orders for the 
Uparat to be scourged two hundred and thirty times. 
He expired after the one hundred and eightieth stroke. 
The offending ladies were also flogged to death. 

The King had only two surviving sons of the first 
rank, namely Prince Ekat'at and Prince Ut'ump'on. 
He was urged to appoint the former to be Uparat, but 
he refused to do so, as he considered him to be incapable 
of carrying on the Government. Moreover, this Prince 
suffered from a disfiguring disease, supposed to have 
been leprosy. Prince Ut'ump'on was a clever and 


studious man, very religious by nature, and greatly 
beloved by the people. He was therefore appointed 

In May 1758 King Boromokot died, aged seventy- 
seven, after a reign of twenty-six years. He was one of 
the best of the Kings of Ayut'ia. He was a lover of 
peace, and managed, throughout his long reign, to avoid 
becoming involved in any serious war. His people 
were prosperous, happy and contented, and there were 
very few thieves and malefactors in Siam in his time, 
It was said that it was even unnecessary for a man to 
have a fence round his house. Although King Boro- 
mokot was capable, when offended, of showing great 
severity, he was by nature kind and merciful, good- 
tempered, and fond of harmless jollity. Each year, 
during the threshing season, he was wont to proceed, 
with all his Court, to live in the padi fields, and to 
relax himself by enjoying rustic dances and songs, and 
viewing pony races and all kinds of country sports. 

King Boromokot was responsible for a great deal of 
legislation during his reign, but few of his laws are of 
much interest to-day. He was severe on elephant and 
cattle thieves, and enacted that such offenders should be 
punished by tattooing them on the hand and forehead 
for the first offence, and by mutilation for subsequent 
offences. 'Cattle theft is very prevalent in Siam at the 
present time. Perhaps the reintroduction of King 
Boromokot's law might do some good. 

Prince Ut'ump'on succeeded to the throne on the 
death of his father. He is usually known in Siamese 
history by the nickname of King Dok Madtta (Figflower). 
His first act was to order the execution of three of his 

1 In the book called The Statement of K'un Luang Ha Wat, supposed to have 
been dictated by this King himself, he is always called by the name Ut'ump'on. 


half-brothers, who were collecting large bands of armed 
followers and appeared to be plotting a rebellion. 

The new King's position on the throne was very 
insecure, as his elder brother, Prince Ekat'at, who had 
many supporters, constantly interfered in every detail 
of the administration. After the cremation of the old 
King, he therefore abdicated, and retired to the temple 
called Wat Pradu, which he had himself caused to be 
built. His reign lasted for only three months. 

The abdication of King Ut'ump'on was a great 
misfortune for Siam. The new King, Ekat'at, who 
assumed the title of Boromoraja V, was a man of poor 
intelligence and worthless character. In a book written 
only twenty-two years after his death he is described as 
" void of intelligence, unsettled in spirit, fearful of 
sin, negligent in his kingly duties, hesitating alike to 
do good or to do evil." He was, in short, utterly un- 
fitted to guide his country through the perils which were 
destined to overwhelm it. Moreover, the existence, 
at one and the same time, of a King and an ex- King 
caused faction and disunion at the very period when 
union was most urgently needed. 

King Ekat'at did not open his reign badly. He built 
several new temples and pagodas, and introduced a law 
standardising the currency of the Kingdom, as well as 
the weights and measures. 

A plot was hatched almost at once to replace King 
Ut'ump'on on the throne. The ringleader was a half- 
brother of the King, Prince T'ep P'ip'it. His design 
was revealed by the ex-King himself, after exacting a 
promise that the lives of the conspirators should be 
spared. The smaller fry were flogged and imprisoned, 
and Prince T'ep P'ip'it was exiled to Ceylon. 

Fully occupied in suppressing these internal intrigues, 


King Ekat'at never gave a thought to the dangers across 
the frontier, nor troubled himself about the continued 
successes of the Burmese usurper. 

Many different reasons have been given for the out- 
break of war between Burma and Siam in 1759. The 
truth appears to be that no real reason existed except 
the ambition of Alaungpaya. The greatest of his 
predecessors had subjugated Siam and the Lao States, 
and he resented the existence of independent Kingdoms 
on his borders. By 1759 he had induced Nan, Chiengsen, 
Payao, and most of the other Lao States to acknowledge 
his suzerainty. Only Chiengmai (which, under Prince 
Ong K'am maintained a precarious independence) and 
Ayut'ia ignored the very existence of the Burmese 
upstart. Chiengmai and Ayut'ia must therefore, 
Alaungpaya thought, be made to bend the knee. 

Early in 1759 some Peguan rebels, who had made a 
raid on Syriam, escaped by a French ship. Bad weather 
compelled this vessel to put in at the Siamese port 
of Tenasserim. The Burmese demanded the surrender 
of the ship. The Siamese refused, and permitted it to 
proceed on its voyage. This was a good enough excuse 
for war. A further excuse was afforded by the escape 
to Tenasserim of some of the rebel inhabitants of Tavoy, 
which was captured by the Burmese in the same year. 
Alaungpaya's son, Mangra, and his General, Mingaing 
Nohrata, at once invaded Siam. The Burmese monarch 
himself followed close behind them with a large army. 
Tenasserim was weakly defended and fell at once, and the 
Burmese crossed the Peninsula and commenced to 
advance northwards. 

Nobody in Siam seems to have realised that a serious 
invasion was possible from the south. The Burmese 
plan was, in fact, a very rash one, for it involved marching 


for several days with the sea to the right and a high 
range of mountains to the left. Fortunately for the 
Burmese, the Siamese expected the main enemy attack 
to be made by one of the usual frontier routes, and 
three armies were sent to guard the vulnerable points 
on the western border. An army of 20,000 men, under 
P'ya Yomarat, was, however, sent down the Peninsula, 
and ought to have b,een able to keep back the Burmese. 
It was defeated near Kuiburi, and, almost before the 
danger was realised, P'etchaburi and Ratburi had been 
captured, and Alaungpaya was encamped within forty 
miles of the capital. 

The ease with which this invasion was carried out was 
due partly to the mistakes of those in power and partly 
to the fact that the Siamese had become unused to war- 
fare. There had been no serious fighting since the 
somewhat inglorious invasion of Cambodia in 1717. 

Consternation reigned at Ayut'ia. The King was 
blamed for his lack of foresight and was urged to abdicate. 
The Priest-King, Ut'ump'on, was recalled from his 
temple and reassumed the reins of power ; but it was 
too late to do anything but make hurried preparations 
to prepare the city for a siege. 

The first Burmese attack was repulsed, but in April 
1760 Alaungpaya had received reinforcements and was 
able completely to invest the city. He tried to induce 
the Siamese to surrender by asserting that he was a 
Bodisatra, or embryo Buddha, ordained by Heaven to 
reform the Buddhist religion. His impious pretensions 
were laughed to scorn. 

The siege continued for a month. In May 1760 
a large cannon was placed by the Burmese on a mound, 
for the purpose of shooting into the King of Siam's 
palace. Alaungpaya himself superintended the loading 


of this weapon. One day it burst, and the Burmese 
usurper was severely wounded. 1 Even before this 
accident, Alaungpaya had been considering the advis- 
ability of giving up the siege, as he had not come 
prepared for a long campaign, and dreaded the advent 
of the rains, which had proved so disastrous to King 
Tabeng Shwe T'i in 1559. The cause of the King's 
illness was concealed, but orders were issued for the 
army to retire to Burma by the Melamao route. The 
dying monarch was carried in a litter in the midst of 
his dispirited troops, now harassed all the way by the 
Siamese. He died in May 1760 at Taikkala, just before 
the Salween River was reached. He was only forty- 
five years of age. His early career was one of which 
any man might be proud ; but he sullied his name by 
making an unjust attack upon an unoffending neighbour, 
and rendered himself absurd by his religious pretensions. 

The danger through which they had passed failed 
to teach the Siamese the necessity for union. King 
Ut'ump'on, who had thought that his resumption of the 
crown was to be permanent, soon found his brother 
intriguing against him, and in I762, 1 fearing that his 
life was in danger, he retired once more to his monastery. 

The indifference of the Siamese to the Burmese peril 
was fostered by the difficulties in which Manglok," 
the eldest son and successor of Alaungpaya, found him- 
self. Rebels rose up against him on every side, and for 
two years he was forced to fight for his throne. By the 
year 1762 he had, however, gained control over his 
whole realm, with the exception of Tavoy, which was 
under the rule of one Huit'ongcha. 

1 Burmese history makes no mention of this, but alleges that the illness of 
Alaungpaya was caused by a boil or carbuncle. 

This is Turpin's date. The P'ongsawadan says that this second abdication 
took place in July 1760. 

* Known in Burma as Naung-doa-gyi. 


In 1763 Chiengmai, which was regarded by the 
Burmese merely as a rebel province, was attacked. 
The Chief of Lamp'un fled to P'ijai, and he and the 
new Prince of Chiengmai, who had succeeded his brother 
Chao Ong K'am the year before, appealed to King 
Ekat'at for aid. An army was sent north under P'ya 
P'itsanulok, but before anything could be done Chieng- 
mai had fallen (July 1763), and a Burmese General, 
Ap'ai K'amini, had been placed there as Governor. 

Later in the same year the Burmese captured Luang 

With Burmese influence thus extending over the 
whole of the Lao States, King Ekat'at would have done 
well to adopt a conciliatory attitude. Instead of this, 
he received an embassy from Huit'ongcha, the rebel 
ruler of Tavoy, and accepted from him emblems of 
vassalage, thus formally taking under this protection 
a revolted Burmese province, on the ground that in 
former times Tavoy had belonged to Siam. 

Tavoy did not long enjoy the nominal protection of 
Siam. In November 1763 King Manglok of Burma 
died, after a reign of only three years. His younger 
brother and successor, Mangra, 1 at once prepared to 
subdue Tavoy, and it was captured by his General, 
Maha Nohrata, 1 without much difficulty. The rebel 
Governor fled to Mergui, The Siamese refused to 
surrender him, so Siam was once more invaded, and 
Mergui and Tenasserim occupied. The Burmese then 
proceeded to occupy all the Siamese Peninsular States, 
meeting with very little opposition until they reached 
P'etchaburi. There they were, for the time being, held 
up by an army under a Chinese General, P'ya Tak 

1 Called King Sri Suthammaraja Dhiphati. Hsinbushin in Harvey's History. 
This was a new Maha Nohrata. The original General of that name had 
rebelled and was killed early in 1763. 


better known as P'ya Taksin, 1 later King of Siam 
and retreated back to Tenasserim. 

On the capture of Tenasserim, Huit'ongcha, the rebel 
Governor of Tavoy, fled, accompanied by Prince T'ep 
P'ip'it, who had returned from his exile in Ceylon. 
King Ekat'at had them both arrested. Prince T'ep 
P'ip'it was kept in custody at Chantabun. 

Chiengmai and Luang P'rabang having fallen without 
any very stiff fighting, and the possibility of a successful 
invasion of Siam from the south having been twice 
demonstrated, King Mangra now determined to use his 
northern and southern armies to converge upon Ayut'ia 
from both sides. At the same time he equipped a third 
army, which was to invade Siam by the Three Pagodas 

Siam had a respite of almost a year, owing to a rebellion 
at Chiengmai, which resulted in the flight of the Burmese 
Governor. By the end of 1764, however, the rebellion 
was suppressed, and in June 1765 a Burmese army ot 
5,000 men left Chiengmai for the south, whilst an equal 
number crossed the western frontier. 

The Burmese adopted towards the population of 
Siam a policy of " frightfulness." Every town or village 
which offered the slightest resistance was ruthlessly 
destroyed, and the inhabitants either killed or taken 
as slaves, regardless of age or sex. As a result of 
this, most of the people on the line of march fled 
to the jungle on the approach of the Burmese 

The same methods were adopted by the southern 
army, which left Tenasserim in October 1765, and by 
the end of November had occupied P'etchaburi and 

*His personal name was Sin, and he had held the office of Governor of 
Tak, near Raheng. European writers have joined together his name and 
his title. 


Ratburi without any very serious opposition. In the 
same month the northern army, now greatly increased 
by numbers of forced auxiliaries from Chiengmai, 
Luang P'rabang, and other Lao States, occupied P'ijai, 
Raheng, Sawank'alok, and Suk'ot'ai, most of the inhabi- 
tants fleeing at their approach. P'itsanulok was the 
scene of civil war between the Governor and Prince 
Chit, a rebellious cousin of King Ekat'at. The Governor 
got the upper hand, and killed the Prince. This 
encouraged him to defy the Burmese, and they decided 
not to attack him, but to leave P'itsanulok unmolested 
for the time being. 

By December 1765 the Burmese were attacking 
T'anaburi (Bangkok). An English sea-captain named 
Pauni, 1 who had ingratiated himself with King Ekat'at 
by presenting him with a lion and a rare kind of bird, 
undertook the defence of T'anaburi, and succeeded in 
inflicting great damage on the Burmese. When, how- 
ever, one of the T'anaburi forts was captured by the 
enemy, and his ship was exposed to the fire of the 
captured fort, Pauni retired to Nont'aburi. There he 
continued his gallant stand. The Burmese induced 
him, by a ruse, to send a landing-party ashore, which 
was ambushed and attacked, one Englishman losing 
his life in the engagement. 1 

Pauni now applied for more ammunition. This waa 
refused him, as the King was becoming jealous of his 
success, and the people saw in him a potential second 
Phaulkon. So the brave English captain sailed away, 
leaving to his fate the ungrateful monarch in whose 
defence he had risked his life. Nont'aburi fell, and by 

1 This is the name given by Turpin. Siamese writers refer to him as Alangka 

1 This is from Turpin, who wrote only a few years later ? and derived his infor- 
mation from the Jesuits, who were certainly not pro-English. 


February 1766 the Burmese were once again before the 
walls of Ayut'ia. 

While his country was being devastated both north 
and south, and his subjects slaughtered or enslaved, 
King Ekat'at, inefficient and debauched as ever, hardly 
realised the danger in which he stood. Only the actual 
sight of the Burmese besiegers roused him to some 
sense of his peril, and feverish efforts were made to 
defend the capital. Even at this critical time, however, 
he was inclined to rely far more on all kinds of super- 
stitious charms and magic amulets, and his people, 
encouraged by his example, wasted their time in seek- 
ing for talismans to render themselves invisible or 

The Burmese armies from the north and the south 
probably did not number, in all, more than about 40,000 
men, and Siam ought to have been in a position to cope 
with them. Why, then, was so feeble a resistance made ? 
Cowardice, says Turpin ; and this same charge of 
cowardice has been levelled against the Siamese by more 
recent writers. But no person who really knows Siam 
believes the Siamese to be cowards. Man for man, they 
can well bear comparison, as regards courage,^ with any 
other Eastern race. It was mismanagement, disunion, 
and lethargy in high places which rendered Siam so 
easy a prey for the Burmese. Had a monarch like 
King Naresuen been seated on the throne, the Burmese 
would never have seen the walls of Ayut'ia. 

It must not be supposed, however, that the Burmese 
had no more fighting to do. There was a guerilla army 
of about 5,000 men, under the leadership of men of the 
people, which resisted the Burmese for many months 
in the neighbourhood of the village called Bangrachan. 
Not until seven separate attacks had been made upon 


them, entailing very heavy losses, were they at last 
dispersed. Moreover, during the earlier months of the 
siege of Ayut'ia, numerous sorties were made against 
the invaders, in some of which the Christian inhabitants 
of the city took a conspicuous part. Sometimes partial 
successes were gained, and the Burmese lost numbers 
of men, but no really important damage was inflicted 
on them. 

In May 1766 a Burmese army of 3,000 men had to 
be told off to deal with Prince Tep P'ip'it, who had left 
the priesthood and established himself at the head of 
about 10,000 men at Prachin. He was defeated, and 
fled to K'orat. 

The Siamese had hoped that the advent of the rains 
would force the Burmese to retire, but this hope was 
disappointed. Forts were built on all the rising ground 
round Ayut'ia, and the invaders commandeered vast 
numbers of boats, and made ready to continue the siege 
even in the face of floods. 

In September 1766 the Burmese seized a strong 
position only about half a mile from the city, menacing 
the Christian quarter and the compound of the Dutch 
East India Company. A desperate attempt was made 
by the Christians and some Chinese troops to defend 
their quarter, but by December both the Christian 
quarter and the Dutch compound were in the hands of 
the enemy. Shortly before this happened, a final attempt 
was made to carry out an attack on the besiegers on a 
large scale. A great flotilla of boats was fitted out to 
attack the Burmese forts, which must have been at this 
time like islands amidst the flooded country. There 
were in all 160 boats, each with three cannon on board, 
and manned by an army of 6,000 men, under the com- 
mand of P'ya P'etchaburi and P'ya Taksin. The result 


Was another defeat P'ya P'etchaburi was killed in action, 
together with large numbers of his men, and the remnants 
of his scattered fleet with difficulty escaped to Ayut'ia. 

P'ya Taksin took no active part in this battle, and on 
his return to Ayut'ia he was charged with failing to 
render proper aid to his colleague. He fell into disgrace, 
and not long afterwards he again incurred the Royal 
displeasure through firing some of the large cannon at 
the enemy without first obtaining permission from the 
King ; for an absurd order had been passed that none 
of the larger cannon were to be discharged without 
sanction. P'ya Taksin then fled away from the doomed 
city with 500 followers. The Burmese can hardly have 
suspected that this " contemptible little army " was 
destined to develop into a force capable of freeing Siam 
from their domination. 

At the end of the rains the Burmese received re- 
inforcements, and from that time the Siamese made but 
little serious resistance ; one fort after another fell into 
the hands of the enemy, and the interior of the city now 
formed an easy target for the Burmese cannon. The 
miserable inhabitants were almost starving. As though 
famine were not enough, an epidemic broke out, and 
the streets were strewn with corpses, which were left 
to be devoured by the pariah dogs. To culminate the 
misery of the besieged, on January 7th, 1767, a great 
fire broke out, which consumed 10,000 houses. 

The Burmese General, Maha Nohrata, died early in 
1767, but any hopes which the Siamese may have founded 
on that event were vain. The Burmese now saw success 
within their grasp, and pressed on with the siege. 

King Ekat'at, seeing that all was lost, offered to 
surrender his capital and to become a vassal of the 
King of Burma. He was told, in reply, that no other 


terms but unconditional surrender would be considered. 

Filled with the courage of despair, the Siamese managed 
to hold out for another three months. At length, on 
Tuesday, April 7th, 1767, a tremendous effort was made 
by the besiegers. Fires were kindled against the walls, 
and cannon were fired simultaneously from every side* 
At last a breach was made, the Burmese fought their 
way in, and the city fell into their hands, after a siege 
of fourteen months. 

The victors behaved like Vandals. The palace, the 
principal buildings, and thousands of private houses 
were soon a prey to flames, and their sacrilegious lust 
for destruction did not permit the victors to spare even 
the temples dedicated to the cult of their own faith. 
All the largest and most beautiful images of Buddha 
were hacked in pieces, and many of them were burnt 
for the sake of the gold leaf with which they were coated. 
Plunder, and still more plunder, was the watchword. 
Men, women and children were flogged and tortured 
to make them reveal the hiding-places where their few 
treasures or savings were concealed. 

King Ekat'at fled from his palace in a small boat. 
The exact manner of his final fate is uncertain. Some 
say that he wandered about in the jungle until he died of 
hunger and exposure. The Burmese historian relates how 
a brother of the King recognised his mangled remains 
among a heap of the slain at one of the city gates. In 
either case, a miserable end for the successor of so many 
great Kings, unworthy though he undoubtedly was. 

The ex-King Ut'ump'on was torn from the shelter 
of his temple and taken away to Burma, where he ended 
his days in captivity in 1796. His fellow-captives were 
numerous, including most of the members of the Royal 
Family, hundreds of officials, and of soldiers and peasantry 


a vast number, variously estimated from 30,000 to 

A great amount of treasure, such as gold and jewels, 
was found in the palace, also quantities of arms and 
ammunition. Of the latter only the best and most 
curious cannon and guns were taken away to Burma. 
The remainder were destroyed or thrown into the river. 

Thus fell Ayut'ia, four hundred and seventeen years 
after its foundation by King Rama T'ibodi I. In 1568 
the city fell through treachery, in 1767 through the 
inefficiency and corruption of those in power. A new 
Ayut'ia may to-day be seen, but the old Ayut'ia was 
never rebuilt. It is still a mass of ruins, over which 
the tropical jungle spreads like a green mantle, as though 
to hide the handiwork of the Burmese from the sight of 

Among other irreplaceable treasures, almost all the 
written records of the Kingdom were burnt, and for many 
years it seemed as though all certain trace of the history 
of Siam had vanished. But later Kings were destined 
to collect and piece together the scattered fragments, 
until, little by little, some account of the story of the 
old capital was written down, full of gaps and errors, 
yet still retaining some semblance of the truth. 



IT has been said, and with some truth, by a Siamese 
author, that " the King of Hanthawadi waged war 
like a monarch, but the King of Ava like a robber.'* 
By this is meant that King Bhureng Noung's invasion 
of Siam was made with the intention of reducing the 
Kingdom to the position of a vassal, but King Mengra's 
invasion, which was undertaken without any real cause, 
had no other object than the ruin of Siam, and the 
acquisition of plunder and slaves. 

Having, as they thought, so crushed and terrorised 
the Siamese nation as to render its recuperation impossible 
for many years, the Burmese withdrew a large part of 
their army, leaving only a comparatively small force, 
under the command of a General named Sugyi, to 
control the country. Sugyi was established in a camp 
near the ruined capital, called the camp of the Three 
Bo Trees. 

P'ya Taksin, with his five hundred followers, managed 
to shake off his Burmese pursuers, and established 
himself near Rayong, on the east coast of the Gulf of 
Siam. His own fellow-countrymen in that region were at 
first by no means at all certain whether to regard him as 
a rebel or a deliverer, but before the fall of Ayut'ia 
he had quelled all opposition and was in full control of 
the Rayong and Jonburi districts. 



The Governor of Chantabun at first made friendly 
overtures to P'ya Taksin, but, on learning of the fall of 
Ayut'ia, he bethought himself that he might make a 
better King than the Chinese General, whom he 
therefore invited to Chantabun, intending to make a 
treacherous onslaught upon him. The design was 
revealed, and P'ya Taksin attacked Chantabun by night 
and captured it, after an action in which he greatly 
distinguished himself by his bravery. The capture 
of Chantabun took place in June 1767, two months after 
the fall of Ayut'ia, and was followed by the capture of 
Trat. P'ya Taksin thus became master of a large 
strip of territory, and territory which had not been 
plundered and depopulated by the Burmese. Officials 
and soldiers from other parts of Siam now began to 
join him, and by October of the same year his army of 
five hundred had increased to five thousand, and he 
felt strong enough to attack the Burmese. 

With a fleet of a hundred boats he sailed up the Menam 
River and speedily took T'anaburi (Bangkok), where he 
executed Nai T'ong In, a renegade Siamese who had 
been set up by the Burmese as Governor. Sugyi now 
sent a large army, under one Maung Ya, to expel P'ya 
Taksin. Maung Ya's force was, however, partly com- 
posed of Siamese, who at once began to desert, and 
Maung Ya fled back to the camp of the Three Bo Trees. 
P'ya Taksin pursued him and attacked the Burmese 
camp, which was taken after a short but fierce fight, 
the Burmese General being killed in action. This 
event marks the liberation of Siam from the Burmese, 
only six months after the capture and destruction of 
the capital. 

A good many members of the Royal Family were still 
living at Ayut'ia. P'ya Taksin treated them with great 


respect, and later provided for several of the Princesses 
by marrying them himself. The subsequent fate of 
two of these ladies was an unhappy one. They were 
accused of adultery and executed. 

The remains of King Ekat'at were exhumed from the 
place where they had been buried by the Burmese, 
and cremated with all possible ceremony. 

But P'ya Taksin, while prepared to show proper 
respect to the members of the ex-Royal Family, whether 
living or dead, had no idea of placing any one of them on 
the throne. He set to work to render hijnself popular 
by distributing money and food to the population, 
and it soon became known that he intended to make 
himself King. 

P'ya Taksin at first intended to re-establish Ayut'ia 
as the capital of Siam, but later changed his mind and 
returned to Bangkok, 1 where he was crowned as King 
of Siam. His decision was a wise one. To restore 
Ayut'ia would have cost a great deal of money, and 
to defend it would have needed a large army, neither of 
which the ruined land could at that time provide. 

P'ya Taksin, at the time of his coronation, was only 
thirty-four years of age. His father was Chinese, or 
partly Chinese, and his mother Siamese. They were 
not people of any high position. P'ya Taksin rose to 
be King through his own courage and ability ; perhaps 
partly, also, through his faith in his destiny, which was 
a prominent feature of his character throughout his 
career. He believed that even the forces of Nature 
were under his control when he was destined to succeed, 
and this faith led him to attempt and achieve tasks 

1 The city of King Taksin was on the west bank of the Menam, and is usually 
referred to by Siamese writers as T'onburi or T'anaburi. Chao P'ya Chakrf, 
on becoming King, founded the present city of Bangkok. To the average European 
mind the distinction between T'anaburi and Bangkok is a distinction without 
a difference. 


which to another man would have seemed impossible. 
Like Napoleon III, he was a man of destiny. 

Fortunately for King Taksin the Burmese were fully 
occupied, at the end of 1767, in repelling a Chinese 
invasion, and he had, therefore, less to fear from them 
than from rivals in his own country. Siam was, at this 
time, split up into five separate States, namely : 

1. Central Siam, under King Taksin, consisting of 
the modern provinces of Bangkok, Ratburi, Nak'on 
Jaisi, Prachin, Chantabun, and part of Nak'on Sawan. 

2. The Peninsular provinces up to Jump'orn. One 
P'ra Palat, who was acting Governor of Nak'on Srit'- 
ammarat at the time of the capture of Ayut'ia by the 
Burmese, had proclaimed his independence under the 
title of King Musika. 

3. The eastern provinces, including K'orat. Prince 
T'ep P'ip'it, the restless son of King Boromokot, after 
many vicissitudes and dangers, had set himself up as 
King, with his capital at P'imai. 

4. The province of P'itsanulok, and part of Nak'on 
Sawan, under the Governor of P'itsanulok, known 
as King Ruang. 

5. The extreme northern part of P'itsanulok, where 
a Buddhist priest named Ruan had set himself up as 
King, with his capital at Sawangburi, near Utaradit 
(then known as Fang). He was known as the Priest- 
King of Fang, and all his officials and army leaders 
wore the yellow robe. 

Every one of these rulers held great advantages over 
King Taksin. The Governors of P'itsanulok and 
Nak'on Srit'ammarat had merely exalted their titles in 
districts already under their rule, and whose inhabitants 
were accustomed to obey them. Prince T'ep P'ip'it 
could plead hereditary right. The Priest-King of Fang 


was looked upon by the superstitious and everyone 
was superstitious in those days as a prophet or magician, 
or both. P'ya Taksin had nothing but his courage and 
his faith in his destiny, yet he subdued all his rivals. 

The Burmese still had a camp near Ratburi, and a 
fleet of boats at the mouth of the Mek'long River. Early 
in 1768 the King of Burma, having expelled the Chinese 
invaders from his realm, ordered the Burmese Governor 
of Tavoy to join forces with the Burmese at Ratburi 
and make short work of the upstart King of Bangkok. 
King Mengra quickly learnt that he was dealing with an 
adversary very different from King Ekat'at. The 
Governor of Tavoy was expelled from Siam with great 
loss, the Burmese camp at Ratburi was captured, and the 
whole of their fleet fell into the hands of the Siamese. 
A prominent part in these operations was taken by 
one P'ra Maha Montri. This official was one of the 
earliest adherents of King Taksin. After the recapture 
of Ayut'ia he had introduced into the King's service 
his elder brother, Luang Yokrabat, who was made 
P'ra Rajawarin, and who later became King P'ra P'utt'a 
Yot Fa Chulalok (Rama I) of Siam ; and P'ra Maha 
Montri was the Wang Na, or " second King," during 
his brother's reign. 

In May 1768 King Taksin marched northwards to 
subdue the Governor of P'itsanulok. The expedition was 
a failure. The King's army sustained a defeat, and he 
himself was wounded. The reduction of P'itsanulok 
was, therefore, abandoned for a time. 

Encouraged by this success, the Governor of P'it- 
sanulok caused himself to be formally crowned as 
King of Siam. He did not, however, long enjoy 
his new dignity. A week latejr he was dead. He 
was succeeded by his younger brother, P'ra In, who 


took King Huang's death as an omen, and did not 
assume the Royal tide. 

The Priest-King of Fang, who had already made one 
unsuccessful attack on P'itsanulok, now seized the 
opportunity for another attempt. After a siege of two 
months he was master of P'itsanulok. The unfortunate 
P'ra In was executed and his corpse exposed on the 
gate of the city, and the Priest- King of Fang became 
ruler of the whole of northern Siam. 

The yellow robe worn by this abominable man was 
the only religious thing about him. His rule was a 
disgrace to humanity and an insult to the religion which 
he sacrilegiously professed to follow. He and his fol- 
lowers wallowed in blood and steeped themselves in 
drunkenness and vice. Fortunately their triumph was 
not destined to endure for very long. 

At the close of the rainy season of 1768 King Taksin 
turned his attention to the K'orat district. The army 
of Prince T'ep P'ip'it was assisted by a Burmese force, 
under Maung Ya, who had fled from Ayut'ia when it 
was recaptured the previous year ; after two stiff en- 
counters the K'orat armies were overcome, Maung Ya 
and his Siamese colleague were captured and executed, 
and K'orat was occupied. The " King of P'imai," as 
Prince T'ep P'ip'it was called, took no part in the 
fighting, and when he heard of the defeat of his armies, 
he fled from P'imai, intending to seek a refuge at Wieng- 
chan. He was pursued and taken. King Taksin, who 
always showed respect to scions of the former reigning 
family, intended to treat him well, but the insolence and 
arrogance of the Prince towards his captor were such as 
to stifle all feelings of mercy, and Prince T'ep P'ip'it 
met the usual fate of unsuccessful pretenders. 

This Prince, by virtue of his birth, was a suitable 


candidate for the throne of Siam ; he had, however, 
no military or administrative ability, and throughout 
his career was nothing more than a mere plotter and 
intriguer. He was better out of the way. 

King Taksin now began to restore order and pros- 
perity in his dominions. His was no easy task. The 
crops had not been properly attended to for several 
years, and at the end of 1768 the scanty supplies were 
further diminished by a plague of rats. A huge rat- 
catching campaign had to be undertaken, and at the 
same time the starving people had to be fed. Money 
was poured out without stint to obtain supplies from 
abroad, and people soon began to see that a usurper, 
who was capable of helping them in an emergency, was 
better than a ruler of Royal descent who wasted his time 
in folly and idleness. Abuses were reformed, the safety 
of persons and property was restored, and malefactors 
were punished with the greatest severity. 

Early in 1769 the King of Cambodia, Rama T'ibodi, 
was expelled from his Kingdom by his brother, aided by 
a Cochin-Chinese army. King Rama T'ibodi fled to 
Bangkok, and his brother assumed the title of King 
Narai Raja. King Taksin thought this a suitable oppor- 
tunity for asserting the ancient rights of Siam over 
Cambodia. He therefore demanded from the new 
ruler the usual tribute, in the form of gold and silver 
trees. King Narai returned a haughty answer, declining 
to send tribute to the son of a low-born Chinese. King 
Taksin was just getting ready to march against Nak'on 
Srit'ammarat, but this insult was more than he could 
brook. Siemrap and Battambang were promptly occupied 
by two armies which had been stationed at K'orat, and 
orders were given to hold those two towns until the 
return of the army sent to Nak'on Srit'ammarat. If the 



King of Cambodia had not, by that time, adopted 
a humbler tone, more of his territory was to be 

The expedition to Nak'on Srit'ammarat began badly. 
The army met with a reverse near Jaiya, and the Generals 
started quarrelling and indulging in mutual recrimina- 
tions. The King hurried to Jaiya by sea, arriving in 
August. His presence at once set matters right. The 
army of King Musika was routed, and he himself fled 
to Nak'on Srit'ammarat. When King Taksin's army 
approached the walls of the city, King Musika gave up 
all hope, and escaped to the south. King Taksin entered 
the city in state. The fugitive Governor was followed 
to Patani. A threat of war caused the Raja of that State 
to deliver him up, and he was sent back to Nak'on 

King Taksin's treatment of his defeated rival shows the 
generous side of his character. His councillors urged 
the execution of the prisoner. " No," replied the King ; 
" he was never my servant, nor I his master. We were 
both servants of King Ekat'at, and when our master 
was dead, neither of us had any better right than the 
other to set himself up as King. My luck has been 
better than his, that is all." The ex-Governor was taken 
to Bangkok and given an official appointment, and 
a few years later was sent back to govern Nak'on 

King Taksin was delayed at Nak'on Srit'ammarat for 
longer than he had expected, and did not return to Bang- 
kok until March 1769. A rumour was spread that he 
was dead, and the armies from Siamrap and Battambang 
had returned before the King, the Generals in command 
fearing that there might be disturbances in the capital. 
Cambodia was therefore left alone that year. 


Early in 1770 the Priest-King of Fang sent a band 
of marauders to plunder the town of Jainat, and King 
Taksin realised that the time had come to bring the 
false prophet to book. Three armies, totalling over 
20,000 men, were employed on this expedition, and they 
made very short work of the northern forces. P'itsanulok 
was soon taken, and after a brief delay there the army of 
the future Wangna (at that time bearing the title of P'ya 
Yomarat) invested the capital of the Priest-King, 
Sawangburi. This was only a small town, surrounded 
by a wooden stockade. The prophet soon lost heart, 
and when a young white elephant was born in his city, 
he took it as an omen of coming disaster to himself, and 
fled away to the north. He was never captured, and his 
ultimate fate is unknown. 

The capture of Sawangburi meant the re-establishment 
of the old territorial limits of Siam, and thenceforth 
King Taksin ruled over practically the same territory 
as the later Kings of Ayut'ia, with the exception of 
Tavoy and Tenasserim. 

The King was, as might be expected, greatly disgusted 
by the excesses and immoralities of the false prophet 
and his myrmidons. He held that every priest in northern 
Siam lay under the suspicion of being a participator in 
the crimes that had been committed, and compelled 
large numbers of them to undergo the ordeal by water. 
Those who could not withstand this test were expelled 
from the priesthood and punished. A thorough reforma- 
tion of the Church in the northern provinces was then 
undertaken by priests sent up from the south. 

It may here be mentioned that King Taksin was 
unusually partial to the system of trial by ordeal, whether 
by fire or water, and constantly made use of it in doubtful 
cases. This was quite in accordance with his character, 


for he firmly believed that all his actions were directly 
influenced and controlled by a higher Power. 

We may assume that King Taksin had by this time 
realised a fact, which seems to have escaped the notice 
of most of his predecessors, namely that there never 
could be any security for the peace and prosperity of 
Siam so long as the Lao States, which had formed the 
ancient Kingdom of Lannat'ai, remained under Burmese 

We have seen in the last chapter that the Burmese, 
since the rise of their new dynasty, had adopted more 
ruthless methods of warfare. It seems that their methods 
of governing subject races had likewise become less 
sympathetic. The Lao States had been, off and on, 
under Burmese rule for over two hundred years, and do 
not appear to have felt the yoke bear very heavily upon 
them. But under the new Burmese Military Governors 
things were quite different. We read in the History of 
Chiengmai that " the Burmese rulers in every part of 
Lannat'ai oppressed and ill-treated the people in many 
ways, and the people suffered very grievously. Some 
fled and dwelt in the forests and jungles, and some 
formed themselves into robber bands and fought 

The Burmese Governor, Ap'ai Kamini, died in 1769, 
and was succeeded by a man named Bo Mayu Nguan. 
He signalised his assumption of office by sending an 
expedition to attack Sawank'alok. The Governor of 
Sawank'alok held out for a month, at the end of which 
time a large army from P'itsanulok arrived, and drove 
the Burmese back across the frontier. 

King Taksin then assumed command in person, and 
made up his mind to capture Chiengmai. He reached 
Chiengmai without much opposition, and we may 


presume that the Lao population welcomed him as a 
deliverer. On reaching Chiengmai, however, he realised 
that he was not equipped to undertake a long siege, and 
retired after remaining near the city for nine days. He 
gave as his reason for this retirement an ancient prophecy 
to the effect that no King of Siam could ever capture 
Chiengmai on the first attempt. 

The Burmese attacked the retreating army, but were 
driven back with much loss, the King himself showing 
great courage in this action. 

King Narai of Cambodia, true to the tradition of his 
ancestors, who had always sought to trouble Siam when 
she was at war with Burma, took advantage of the King 
of Siam's absence at Chiengmai to send a filibustering 
expedition to attack Chantabun and Trat. This stab 
in the back made King Taksin determine to dethrone 
the culprit, and put his fugitive rival, Rama T'ibodi, 
in his place. He therefore at once invaded Cambodia 
at the head of an army of 15,000 men, backed by a fleet 
of 200 vessels. Bantday M'eas, Phnom Penh, Battam- 
bang, and Boribun were speedily captured, and the 
Siamese advanced towards Bant&y Pech, 1 at that time 
the capital. King Narai fled, and King Rama T'ibodi 
was set up as vassal King of Cambodia. King Narai 
retained control of northern Cambodia for a time, but 
ultimately submitted to his brother, and was rewarded 
by King Taksin with the title of Maha Upayorat, or 

The future founder of the present dynasty greatly 
distinguished himself in this campaign. He had recently 
been promoted to the rank and title of Chao P'ya 
Chakri, and his younger brother had become Chao 
P'ya Surasih. 

1 About five miles north-east of Phnom Penh; 


In 1769 the third Chinese invasion of Burma since the 
accession of KingMengra had been successfully repulsed, 
and peace between Burma and the Chinese formally 
concluded. This left Burma free for further aggressions 
against her eastern neighbours. In 1771 an army under 
a celebrated General named Bo Supla was sent to inter- 
fere in a dispute between the Princes of Wiengchan and 
Luang P'rabang, on the invitation of the former. Luang 
P'rabang submitted without any fighting, leaving this 
army free to molest Siam, In 1772 a small force was 
sent to capture P'ijai, but was driven back. At the 
end of 1773 Bo Supla himself led an army to attack P'ijai 
again. This time the Siamese were ready, and after a very 
fierce engagement drove the whole Burmese army back 
across the frontier. 

In 1774 KingMengra was busy making preparations 
for dealing a final blow at Siam. His plan was to make, 
as in 1767, a double invasion from Chiengmai and the 
west simultaneously. King Taksin was getting ready to 
defend his new capital when he heard that a rebellion 
had broken out in Pegu, and that the rebels had taken 
Martaban. He therefore determined to take the initi- 
ative, realising that if he wished to unite the Lao States to 
his Kingdom he must do it now or never. In November 
1774 he marched to the north at the head of 20,000 
men. On reaching Raheng he heard the disquieting 
news that the Peguan rebels had been quelled. For 
a brief space he hesitated. But if the news from Burma 
was bad, that from Chiengmai was very encouraging. 
The Burmese Governor was at loggerheads with Bo 
Supla, 1 and P'ya Chaban, a man of great influence, had 
quarrelled with them both. Lampang was known to 

*This was the General who took command of the Burmese army after the 
death of Maha Nohrata, and was responsible for the capture of Ayut'ia and 
subsequent barbarities. 


be a centre of anti-Burmese feeling. The Governor 
of that city, Chao Fa Jai Keo,* appointed by the Burmese 
in 1764, was under suspicion, and was retained as a 
hostage in Chiengmai. His son, Chao Kawila, the 
acting Governor, was known to be pro-Siamese. King 
Taksin was therefore emboldened to proceed with his 

Hardly had the Siamese advance guard, under Chao 
P'ya Chakri, crossed the frontier, when P'ya Chaban, 
who had been sent to Miiang Hawt at the head of a 
mixed Burmese and Lao force, caused all his Burmese 
followers to be killed, and proceeded to join the Siamese. 
Chao Kawila of Lampang followed suit by ordering 
a massacre of all the Burmese in his city, and throwing 
open the gates to the Siamese army. Such of the 
Burmese as could escape bore the news to Chiengmai ; 
the Burmese Governor of Chiengmai, Bo Mayu Nguan, 
retaliated by casting Chao Fa Jai Keo, the arch-rebel's 
father, into prison. 

By January 1775 ^ e Burmese had been driven, with 
great slaughter, from their camp near Lamp'un, and 
the armies of King Taksin were, for the second time, 
besieging Chiengmai. The King himself was quickly 
on the spot, and ordered a general attack on every side. 
Bo Mayu Nguan and Bo Supla, with the greater part of 
the Burmese garrison, fled through the White Elephant 
Gate. They were pursued, but managed to make good 
their escape. King Taksin entered Chiengmai in state 
on the 1 6th of January, 1775, amidst general rejoicing. 
The happiest man of all was Chao Kawila, who had 
the satisfaction of releasing his old father, given up 
for dead. 

1 Chao Fa Jai Keo was the ancestor of the present hereditary Chiefs of Chieng 
mai, Laxnpang, and Lamp'un. 


P'ya Chaban was made Prince of Chiengmai, with the 
title of P'ya Wijien, and Chao Kawila was sent back 
to rule Lampang. 1 

The capture of Chiengmai practically marks the 
establishment of the Kingdom of Siam as known to us 
to-day. It was speedily followed by the submission 
of the Chiefs of P're and Nan. 

Any chance of peace between Siam and Burma which 
might have existed was destroyed as a result of the 
rebellion in Pegu. 1 Thousands of Peguan refugees fled 
across the frontier into Siam, and each band of refugees 
was in turn followed by a Burmese force, sent to bring 
them back. Two of these Burmese incursions into 
the Raheng district were repulsed during and after the 
siege of Chiengmai. On returning to his capital in 
February 1775 King Taksin was greeted by the tidings 
that yet a third Burmese force had crossed the frontier 
by the Three Pagodas route, and had driven back the 
Siamese frontier guard to Kanburi. He at once gave 
orders that the troops which were returning from Chieng- 
mai were to proceed at once to Ratburi, and that no man 
was to waste time by going home to see his wife or 
relations. Only one man, P'ra T'ep Yot'a, ventured 
to disobey this order. The King sent for him, and with 
his own hand cut ofF his head. After that,* the rest of 
the army made no further trouble about going to Ratburi. 
The Burmese, encouraged by their first success, pushed 
on into Siam. One force, consisting of 2,000 men, 
advanced towards Sup'an and Nak'on Jaisi, pillaging 
and plundering ; another, 3,000 strong, was despatched 
towards Ratburi. The result was a complete defeat. 

1 Fya Chaban was only Chief of Chiengmai for about a year, after which the 
dty was deserted for twenty years, until 1796, when Chao Kawila became Prince. 

This rebellion in Pegu had unfortunate results for the ex- King of Pegu, P'ya 
Dala, who had been a prisoner since* 1757. He was accused of complicity, and 
was executed, together with several members of his family. 


The larger of the Burmese armies was besieged by 
King Taksin in a camp which they established near 
Ratburi. In April, after heavy losses and much suffer- 
ing, they were forced to surrender, and their General, 
with 1,328 starving men, was taken as a prisoner to 
Bangkok. The smaller Burmese army managed to make 
good its escape, but only after suffering severe losses. 
The sight of such a large number of Burmese prisoners 
must have had a very good effect on the morale of the 
people of Bangkok. Hitherto they had become too 
much accustomed to seeing their own friends and 
relations carried off to Burma. 

Chiengsen was still in the hands of the Burmese, 
and, in October 1775, Supla came down once more 
to recapture Chiengmai. That city was very short 
both of men and supplies, and could not have held out 
for long. But the news that Chao P'ya Chakri and 
Chao P'ya Surasih were on their way to relieve Chiengmai 
caused Bo Supla to retire again to Chiengsen. 

Chao P'ya Chakri and Chao P'ya Surasih had not 
been long in the north when they had to hurry back to 
assist in dealing with the most serious Burmese invasion 
during King Taksin's reign. This invasion had as its 
object the reduction of the northern provinces of Siam. 
The Burmese army was commanded by a celebrated 
General called Maha Sihasura, who had been very suc- 
cessful in the Chinese wars. The frontier was crossed 
at Melamao, Raheng was captured, and in January 1776 
a considerable Siamese army under Chao P'ya Surasih 
was defeated near Suk'ot'ai and driven back to P'itsanulok. 
After this, Suk'ot'ai fell, and the Burmese started to 
besiege P'itsanulok. King Taksin himself led another 
army to the relief of the northern capital, and a good deal 
of hard fighting took place, but in the end Chao P'ya 


Chakri, menaced by famine, was forced to abandon 
P'itsanulok. At the head of all the inhabitants who 
were still able to march, he forced a way through the 
Burmese lines and established himself at P'etchabun. 
The Burmese entered the deserted city at the end of 
March. The capture of P'itsanulok marked the high 
tide of Burmese success. The shortage of supplies, 
which had hastened the fall of the city, made it im- 
possible to hold it, and the invaders speedily withdrew. 
From this time they suffered defeat after defeat, and by 
the end of August had retired across the frontier. 

It is related that during this invasion Maha Sihasura 
expressed a desire to meet Chao P'ya Chakri, whom he 
had found to be the toughest of his antagonists. A 
meeting was arranged, and the Burmese General, himself 
a very old man, was astonished to find that Chao P'ya Chakri 
was only thirty-nine years of age, and looked much less. 
Maha Sihasura prophesied that Chao P'ya Chakri was 
destined to wear a crown a prophecy which came true 
only six years later. 

The Burmese retreat from P'itsanulok was not entirely 
involuntary. A new King, Singu Min, son of Mengra, 
had just ascended the throne of Burma. He was 
opposed to adventures in Siam, and one of his first acts 
was to degrade Maha Sihasura. He intended, however, 
to maintain his control over the whole of the Burmese 
Empire, of which, according to Burmese ideas, the 
Lao States formed an essential part. An army of 6,000 
men was therefore sent to Chiengmai. P'ya Chaban 
was reduced to such straits that he was forced to feed his 
soldiers and citizens mainly on the flesh of Burmese 
prisoners. He managed, however, to hold out, and in 
September 1776 the city was relieved by a Siamese 
army. P'ya Chaban, however, felt unable to carry on the 


government of Chiengmai any longer, so depleted ahd im- 
poverished had the city become. He retired to Lampang, 
followed by most of the inhabitants of Chiengmai, and 
for twenty years the once mighty capital of King Mengrai 
was left as a lair for the beasts of the jungle. 

King Taksin had no more trouble with Burma during 
the rest of his reign, but plenty of it on his eastern 
frontier. In 1777 the Governor of Nangrong, in K'orat 
province, rebelled, and threw in his lot with one Chao O, 
who ruled over Champasak, at that time an independent 
principality. Chao P'ya Chakri was sent to deal with 
the rebel, who was quickly caught and executed ; but 
this led to hostilities with Champasak, and another army, 
under Chao P'ya Surasih, had to be sent to the east. 
The result was very satisfactory. Chao O was caught 
and executed, and all the territory on the bank of the 
Mek'ong, as far south as K'ong, was added to King 
Taksin's dominions. 

Chao P'ya Chakri, on returning from this expedition, 
was given the rank of a Royal Prince, with a title which 
may be translated as " Supreme Warlord/' 1 

About this time King Taksin began to show signs of 
mental derangement. He imagined that he had dis- 
covered certain physical resemblances between himself 
and Buddha, and indulged in various other eccentricities. 
His temper also grew very fierce and suspicious. On one 
occasion he was roused to fury merely because his hair 
had been imperfectly dressed on a ceremonial occasion, 
and when his son, Prince In P'itak, ventured to say a 
word in defence of the offending servant, the unfortunate 
Prince was seized and most unmercifully flogged. 

1 It was most unusual to confer princely rank on any person not related to the 
reigning King. The only previous instance recorded was that of K'un P'iren 
(later King Maha T'ammaraja), who in 1549 was made a Prince by King Maha 
Chakrap'at, He was,, however, the King's son-in-law, and was a descendant of 
the Kings of Suk'ot'ai. 


The Champasak expedition was the indirect cause of 
another war, this time with Prince Bun Sarn of Wieng- 
chan. A certain Wiengchan noble, named P'ra Woh, 
who had rebelled some time previously against the 
Prince of Wiengchan, had fled to Champasak territory 
and established himself at a place named Mot Demg, 
near the present town of Ubon. On the fall of Cham- 
pasak, he made formal submission to Siam, but as soon 
as the Siamese army was withdrawn, the Prince of 
Wiengchan attacked P'ra Woh, captured him, and cut 
his head off. King Taksin regarded this as an act of 
war against himself, and at once fitted out an army of 
20,000 men to invade Wiengchan, The Prince of 
Luang P'rabang, Chao Suriwongsa, joined the Siamese, 
but in spite of his assistance, it was several months 
before Wiengchan was captured. The Siamese appear 
to have rivalled the Burmese in " frightfulness " during 
this expedition. When besieging the town of P'ak'o 1 
they terrified the inhabitants by sending women to offer 
boatloads of severed heads for sale outside the city wall, 
and when at last Wiengchan was captured, they looted 
everything of value on which they could lay their hands. 
Among the plunder taken was the celebrated Emerald 
Buddha. 1 From this time until 1893 Luang P'rabang 
and Wiengchan were Siamese dependencies. 

The arrangements made by King Taksin in Cambodia, 
which practically amounted to placing the country under 
the joint rule of two rival Kings, were not very successful. 
In 1777 the Maha Uparat was murdered, and the 
ex-King Narai died shortly afterwards. King Rama Raja 
was suspected of being the cause of the death of both 

1 dose to Wiengchan. 

* According to one legend, this image had at one time been at Aynt'ia, during the 
reign of Boromoraja If. There is, however, no real historical evidence that it 
was ever in southern Siam until it was taken to Bangkok by Chao P'ya ChakrL 


these Princes, and his unpopularity was enhanced by the 
assistance, both of men and provisions, which he forced 
his people to render to the Siamese expedition against 
Wiengchan. Disturbances broke out, ending in the 
execution of King Rama Raja and his four sons, and 
Prince Ong Eng, the seven-year-old son of the ex- King 
Narai, was set up as King, under the guardianship of a 
certain Prince Talaha. The infant King was merely 
a puppet of the anti-Siamese party in Cambodia, and King 
Taksin thought the occasion favourable to increase 
Siamese control. Early in 1781 an army of 20,000 men, 
under Chao P'ya Chakri and Chao P'ya Surasih, was 
sent to Cambodia. They were accompanied by the 
King's son, Prince In P'itak, who was to be crowned as 
King of Cambodia, when the country had been subdued. 
The Regent of Cambodia fled from his capital, Bant^ay 
Pech, and went to Saigon to ask for the aid of a Cochin- 
Chinese army. Prince In P'itak occupied Bant^ay Pech, 
and a Cochin-Chinese army advanced to Phnom Penh, 
but before any serious fighting took place Chao P'ya 
Chakri received news of grave events which made him 
decide to hurry back to Bangkok. 

After the departure of the army for Cambodia, King 
Taksin 's eccentricities had become more pronounced. 
He imagined that he was developing into a Buddha, and 
commanded the priests to pay him divine honours. 
Some, through fear, assented, but many refused. These, 
to the number of over five hundred, were cruelly flogged, 
and the head priests among them were degraded and 

The laity suffered still more severely. As has before 
been explained, the export trade of Siam was at that time 
a Government monopoly. The King began to suspect 
everybody of carrying on illicit trade. As he accepted 


the sworn statement of a single person as conclusive 
evidence of this, a detestable band of informers soon 
grew up, who waxed rich on fines extorted from their 
victims. The latter were not only plundered, but often 
flogged to death. Burning people alive became a common 
event. One of the King's own wives was consigned to the 
flames on a charge of stealing money from the treasury. l On 
every side were heard the lamentations of innocent victims, 
groaning under the insensate tyranny of a madman. 

Ayut'ia was at that time a sort of mining camp, chiefly 
populated by people engaged in digging for the treasures 
which had been hidden during the siege. The super- 
intendence of this business had been farmed out to a 
man called P'ra Wijit Narong for four thousand Heals 
a year, and in order to make a profit, he had to be pretty 
hard on the diggers ; the latter were about ripe for 
rebellion when, in March 1872, one Nai Bunnak set up 
the standard of revolt near Ayut'ia, proclaiming his 
intention of killing King Taksin and setting Chao P'ya 
Chakri on the throne. By the end of March, Ayut'ia 
was in the hands of the rebels, the detested treasure 
farmer had been killed, and the Governor of Ayut'ia had 
fled to Bangkok. 

Among the ringleaders of the rebels was a certain 
K'un Keo, the younger brother of an official called P'ya 
Sank'aburi. King Taksin, who at first thought that he 
had only to deal with a band of dacoits, sent up P'ya 
Sank'aburi with a small force to arrest the offenders. 
P'ya Sank'aburi, on reaching Ayut'ia, at once threw in 
his lot with his brother, and was made the leader of the 
rebels. The rebel army now marched to Bangkok with- 
out opposition, and on the joth of March King Taksin 

Thc lady was entirely innocent. The missing money, which had merely 
been mislaid, was discovered in the Treasury after the accession of Chao P'ya 


found himself besieged in his own palace. Firing took 
place throughout the night, but in the morning the 
King, with the same fatalistic spirit which had often led 
him to overcome almost unsurmountable obstacles, 
decided that his hour of destiny had sounded, and sur- 
rendered to P'ya Sank'aburi, offering to abdicate and 
assume the yellow robe, on the one condition that his 
life should be spared. A couple of days later he was 
admitted into the ranks of that priesthood whose members 
he had, in his madness, so grievously ill-treated. 

P'ya Sank'aburi now assumed the direction of affairs. 
He began by releasing all the prisoners in the gaol, and 
this step was followed by a general massacre of all those 
persons who had set themselves up as informers. 

The Governor of K'orat, P'ya Suriya Ap'ai, had sent 
post-haste, on the outbreak of the rebellion, to inform 
Chao P'ya Chakri, who was then at Siemrap. In reply, 
he received orders to proceed at once to Bangkok with 
all the troops he could raise, and hold the capital until 
the arrival of Chao P'ya Chakri himself. He arrived 
at Bangkok in the middle of April, and was well received 
by P'ya Sank'aburi, who still expressed the intention of 
placing Chao P'ya Chakri on the throne. Before long, 
however, it became evident that P'ya Sank'aburi's 
ambition had overcome his scruples, and that he intended 
to make himself King, He began to rifle the Treasury, 
and to distribute largess broadcast, so as to gain sup- 
porters. He then released from prison a nephew of the 
King's, Prince Anurak Songk'ram, and provided him 
with troops to attack the army of P'ya Suriya Ap'ai. 
Prince Anurak burnt down a great part of the city, but 
when it came to fighting he was badly beaten. He him- 
self fell into the hands of P'ya Suriya, and about half of 
his troops joined the victor. 


P'ya Sank'aburi now saw that his cause was hopeless, 
and that the only thing to do was to make the best terms 
he could with Chao P'ya Chakri. 

Chao P'ya Chakri arrived at Bangkok, with a ferge 
force, on April 2Oth. The populace, filled with joy at 
the prospect of a just and settled government, flocked to 
meet him, and he entered the city in state amidst general 
jubilation. All the officials thronged to do him homage, 
among them P'ya Sank'aburi and the members of his party. 

The presence of King Taksin was extremely embarras- 
sing ; he was incapable of governing, yet he had many 
adherents in various parts of the country who might be 
expected to grasp the first opportunity of replacing him 
on the throne. Cambodia was still disturbed, and a 
Burmese invasion was thought to be imminent. To 
ensure the internal tranquillity of the country, all the 
principal officials urged Chao P'ya Chakri to agree to 
the death of the ex- King ; he finally accepted their counsel 
and King Taksin was executed. 

The false P'ya Sank'aburi and his chief adherents- met 
with the same fate. 

Thus perished, at the age of forty-eight, one of the 
most remarkable men who ever wore the crown of Siam. 

In 1767 he was a mere guerilla leader, with only five 
hundred followers. When he was executed, only fifteen 
years later, his dominions embraced the whole of the 
former Kingdom of Ayut'ia with the exception of Tavoy 
and Tenasserim, and, he was suzerain over almost all the 
Lao States, including Luang P'rabang. Perhaps no 
man but one with the germ of madness in his brain would 
have set himself such -a task as that which King Taksin 
undertook and accomplished. 

Chao P'ya Chajcri was at once proclaimed King of 
Siam, with the tide of King Rama T'ibodi. 


KING RAMA I of the present dynasty, or P'ra P'utt'a 
Yot Fa Chulalok, shortly after ascending the throne, 
founded the present city of Bangkok, bringing down part 
of the walls and fortifications of Ayut'ia to be used in the 
construction of his new capital. 

This King collected and revised the Laws of Siam, 
and had them put into the form which many of them retain 
until the present day. 

There was constant trouble with Burma during his 
reign. King Bodawpaya, who seized the throne of 
Burma in 1781, was very anxious to subjugate Siam, and 
in 1785 Burmese troops crossed the frontier at no less 
than nine separate points. The Burmese met with some 
initial successes, and overran part of the Peninsula, but 
were ultimately all driven out of the country. The 
Siamese took the opportunity, after expelling the Burmese 
from the Peninsula, to regain their control over the Malay 
States of Kedah and Patani, and even to extend it over 
Kelantan and Trengganu, which had not previously 
been subject to Siam. 

During these operations the Sultan of Kedah, fearing 
a Siamese attack, leased the island of Penang to the East 
India Company. The exact degree of control exercised 
by Siam over Kedah before the fall of Ayut'ia is a matter 
concerning which authorities differ, but since the 
establishment of the capital at Bangkok, Kedah had been 
more or less independent. There is no record of any 


protest having been made by Siam to the cession of 
Penang, and in 1800 Province Wellesley, on the main- 
land, was likewise ceded by the Sultan of Kedah, again 
without protest from Siam. 

The lease of Penang was a very one-sided bargain. 
The Sultan of Kedah expected, in return, a Treaty guar- 
anteeing his independence, but the East India Company 
declined to bind themselves in any way. 

In 1786 another Burmese invasion of Siam was re- 
pulsed, after a severe battle in the Kanburi district. 
In 1787 the Burmese, who still held Chiengsen and 
Chiengrai, attacked Lampang and Pasang (then the 
capital of Prince Kawila, who had not yet established 
himself at Chiengmai) but were defeated by the Laos, 
assisted by an army under the Maha Uparat of Siam. 

In 1787 die Siamese took the offensive, and attacked 
Tavoy, but failed to take it. The Governor of Tavoy, 
however, rebelled against the King of Burma in 1791, 
and threw in his lot with Siam. This led to another war 
in 1793. On this occasion the Siamese attempted to 
invade Burma, but without much success, and Tavoy 
was recaptured by the Burmese. It has not formed a 
part of the Siamese dominions since that time. 

In 1797 the Burmese made another attack on the Lao 
Provinces. They reached Chiengmai, which had been 
re-established by Prince Kawila as his capital in 1796, 
but were driven back to Chiengsen. In 1 802 the Burmese 
were at last expelled from Chiengsen, their last remaining 
stronghold in northern Siam. Chiengsen was depop- 
ulated and reduced to ruins, and has never since recovered 
its former important position. 

During the reign of King Rama I, Siamese control 
over Luang P'rabang and Cambodia was more or less 


King Rama I died on the 7th of December, 1809, aged 
seventy-two. His younger brother, the Maha Uparat 
or " Second King," had died in 1803, and he was suc- 
ceeded by his son, Prince Isara Sunt'orn, now known as 
King Rama II. 1 

King Rama II was born on February 26th, 1768, and 
was, therefore, forty-one years of age when he became 
King. He had had great experience both in administra- 
tive and military matters, having for many years taken a 
prominent part in the Government, and having, since he 
was a small boy, accompanied his father on his campaigns. 
In 1810 the Burmese again invaded the Peninsula, 
captured the island of Puket, and besieged Jump'orn. An 
army of 20,000 men was sent against them, and they were 
expelled without great difficulty. 

In 1811 King Rama II published a Decree absolutely 
forbidding the sale or consumption of opium. This 
Law does not appear ever to have been properly enforced, 
and in time became a dead letter. 

In the following year (1812) Siamese troops were sent 
to Cambodia, the King of that country, P'ra Ut'ai Raja, 
having shown signs of disaffection. P'ra Ut'ai retired 
to Cochin-China, but was later restored. 

About the same time the Raja of Kelantan, who had 
previously been subject to the Sultan of Trengganu, 
quarrelled with the latter, and asked leave to send the 
usual tribute of gold and silver trees to Bangkok. Kelantan 
was accordingly acknowledged as a separate tributary 
State, and placed under the control of the Governor of 
Nak'on Srit'ammarat, who at that time exercised the 
powers of a semi-independent Viceroy over the Siamese 
part of the Peninsula. 

He is often called by the posthumous title of Fra Futt'a Loet La Nop'alai. 
*In English official documents of the period, he is usually referred to as the 
Rajah of Ligor. 


In 1818 a Portuguese envoy, Carlos Manuel Silveira, 
came from Macao to Bangkok, and a Commercial Agree- 
ment was subsequently concluded between Portugal and 
Siam. Senhor Silveira later became the first resident 
Portuguese Consul in Siam. His position seems to have 
been a curious one. He bore the Siamese title of Luang, 
and Captain Burney reported in 1827 that the King of 
Siam had pronounced sentence of death upon him ; he 
was, however, subsequently pardoned. In those days it 
\jrould seem that "what with one consideration and 
another, a Consul's lot was not a happy one." 

In 1819 war with Burma was once more imminent, 
but the Burmese were prevented from invading Siam 
owing to trouble on their western frontier. The Sultan 
of Kedah was found to have been intriguing with the 
Burmese. In 1821 Kedah was invaded by Siamese 
troops, and the Sultan fled to Penang. There was a very 
strong pro-Kedah feeling in Penang at that time, and it 
may perhaps be said that a slight amount of jealousy 
between Siam and her southern neighbours in regard to 
the Malay States, traceable to the events of 1821, per- 
sisted until the year 1909, when the States of Kedah, 
Kelantan, and Trengganu were ceded to Great Britain. 

In 1822 Dr. John Crawfurd visited Bangkok as an 
envoy of the East India Company. He did not succeed 
in concluding any definite Treaty or Commercial Agree- 
ment with Siam. Nevertheless, from that time onwards 
British trade with Siam began to increase, and the first 
English resident merchant, James Hunter, settled at 
Bangkok shortly afterwards. 

In 1824 the first Anglo-Burmese war broke out. Siam 
was approached by the British as a possible ally, and a 
Siamese army was actually equipped. There was, 
however, still a certain amount of ill-feeling and suspicion 


between Great Britain and Siam, consequent upon the 
events in Kedah, and the Siamese took no serious part 
in the war, though they were, as nominal allies, included 
in the peace, signed on February 24th, 1826, whereby 
Great Britain acquired the Burmese Provinces of Arakan, 
Martaban, Tavoy, and Tenasserim. 

King Rama II died on July 2Oth, 1824. He had not 
formally designated a successor, but it had been generally 
understood that Prince Maha Mongkut, his eldest son 
by a royal mother, was to succeed him. This Prince, 
then aged twenty, was at the time of his father's death 
a member of the Buddhist priesthood. The eldest son 
of the King, Prince Jett'a, though not the son of a 
royal mother, was supported by a strong party, as he had 
for many years taken a prominent part in public affairs, 
and was thirty-seven years old. He was proclaimed King 
without any opposition. He is known as King Rama III, 
or by the posthumous title of P'ra Nang Klao. 

In 1826 Captain Henry Burney visited Bangkok and 
succeeded in concluding a Treaty of Friendship and 
Commerce between Siam and the East India Company. 
Captain Burney failed in one of the objects of his mission, 
namely to obtain the restoration of the Sultan of Kedah, 
but a clause was inserted in the Treaty guaranteeing the 
independence of Perak, and Siam undertook not to " go 
and molest " Kelantan and Trengganu. 

The United States concluded a Treaty with Siam 
in 1833. 

In 1838 the ex-Sultan of Kedah tried to regain control 
of that State by force. This resulted in another Siamese 
invasion of Kedah, which again led to rather strained 
relations between Siam and Great Britain. 

King Rama III died on April 2nd, 1851. His reign 
was, on the whole, a somewhat unprogressive one. He was 


succeeded by his younger half-brother, Maha Mongkut, 
who assumed the title of P'ra Chom Klao, and is now 
known as King Rama IV. 

Rama IV was a very remarkable man. He spoke 
English fluently and wrote it with a great charm of 
style, and though in some respects he held firmly to old 
fashions and traditions, in all important matters he was 
always on the side of progress. 

In 1852 the second Anglo-Burmese war broke out, and 
resulted in the annexation of Pegu and all southern 
Burma by Great Britain. Siam remained neutral, but 
later on became involved in the tangled intrigues 
between Burma and the Shan State of Kengtung (now 
in Chinese territory), as a result of which Siamese 
armies twice invaded the State of Kengtung, namely 
in 1852 and in 1853. Neither invasion was entirely 

In 1855 Sir John Bowring visited Bangkok and con- 
cluded a Treaty between Siam and Great Britain, parts of 
which are still in force. The principal features of this 
Treaty, and of a supplementary Agreement signed the 
following year, were the establishment of Consular 
Jurisdiction, the restriction of residence for British 
subjects, and the limitation of the import duties. British 
Consular Jurisdiction was practically abolished in 
northern Siam by the Treaty of 1883, and in 
the rest of .the Kingdom by that of 1909, since 
which year British subjects enjoy full residential 

Similar Treaties were later entered into with most 
other foreign Powers, the last one, with Japan, being 
signed as late as 1898. 

In 1867 Cambodia, which had been tributary to Siam 
for several hundred years, became a French Protectorate, 


except the provinces of Battambang and Siemrap, 
which remained Siamese until 1907. 

In 1868 (October ist) King Rama IV died, and was 
succeeded by his son, King Chulalongkorn, who assumed 
the title of P'ra Chula Chom Klao, and is now known as 
Rama V. 

The chief events of this long and memorable reign were 
the institution of posts, telegraphs, and railways, and 
the remodelling of the Courts of Justice and the whole 
system of administration on Western lines. 

In 1893 difficulties arose with France, which resulted in 
the payment by Siam of an indemnity of 3,000,000 francs, 
and the cession of certain territory, including a portion of 
the State of Luang P'rabang. The rest of Luang P'ra- 
bang was ceded to France in 1907. 

The greatest title to fame possessed by King Rama V 
was, without doubt, the abolition of slavery, which, after 
being gradually modified, was finally done away with in 
1905. For this alone King Rama V deserves to bear the 
title of " Great/' which has been applied in this book only 
to two other Kings of Siam, namely Ramk'amheng of 
Suk'ot'ai and Naresuen of Ayut'ia. 

During the reign of King Rama V the office of Maha 
Uparat (called by Europeans the " Second King "), 
which had been retained from ancient times, was finally 
abolished on the death of the last Maha Uparat in 1885. 

King Rama V died on October 24th, 1910, and was 
succeeded by his son, King Maha Vajiravudh, who 
assumed in 1911 the title of Rama VI. 

King Rama VI was born on January ist, 1881. During 
his reign he set himself to follow the path of progress 
trodden by his father and grandfather, and the high 
position now occupied by Siam among the nations of the 
world is sufficient proof of his success. 


Siam entered the Great War on the side of the Allies 
in 1917, and a small but extremely efficient Expeditionary 
Force was sent to Europe. This step greatly strengthened 
the bonds of friendship between Siam and her neighbours, 
Great Britain and France. 

Towards the end of King Rama's reign new Treaties 
were concluded with the United States, France, Great 
Britain (the last in I925),>and all the other foreign Powers 
with interests in Siam, providing for the ultimate fiscal 
and judicial autonomy of the Kingdom. Siam is now, 
therefore, completely independent, and practically re- 
leased from foreign control, direct or indirect. 

King Rama VI died on November 26th, 1925. His 
only child was a daughter, born the day before his death. 
He was, therefore, succeeded by his youngest and only 
surviving full-brother, Prajadhipok, the present reigning 

King Prajadhipok was born on November 8th, 1893. 
He married in 1918 a daughter of his uncle, Prince 
Svasti, but has, as yet, no offspring. 

All the new King's measures, since he ascended the 
throne, have been such as to inspire a feeling of confidence 
and optimism throughout his realm. May he long be 
spared to guide his people along the path of prosperity 
and progress. 


Names of Kings 

Sri Int'arat'itya S'rl Indraditya 

Ramk'amheng Rama Gamhfen 

T'ammaraja Dharmaraj a 

Rama Tibodi Ramadhipati 

Ramesuen Rames'vara 

Boromoraja ParamarSja 

Ram Raja Ramaraja 

Int'araja Indaraja 

Boroma Trailokanat Paramatrailokanatha 

Ratsada Rasht 

P'rajairaja Brahjayaraja 

Worawongsa Varavams'a 

Chakrap'at Cakravarti 

Mahin Mahlndra 

Sri Sarap'et S'rl Sarvajfia 

Naresuen Nares'vara 

Ekat'otsarot Ekadas'aratha 

Songt'am Dran dharma 

Jett'a Jettha 

At'ityawong Adityavams'a 

PrasatT'wig PrisSd D6n 

Ja| Jaya 

Sri Sut'ammaraja S'rl Sudharmarajl 

Narai Nryana 

Petraja Bedraja\i.e. Vedaraja) 

Boromokot Paramakos'a 

Ut'ump'on Udumbara 

Ekat'at Ekadas'a 

P'umint'araja BhflmindarajS 

Ts adz 


Kings of Present Dynasty 

P'ra P'utt'a Yot Fa Chulalok Brah Buddha Y6t Fa Culalok 

P'ra P'utt'a Loet La Nop'alai Brah Buddha Loes La Navolaya 

P'raNangKlao Brah Nan Klau 

Maha Mongkut Mahamahkut 

Chulalongkorn Culalahkarana 

Names of Princes and Princesses 

Promanujit Jinnorot Paramanujita Zinorasa 

Nak'on In Nagara Indra 

Suriwong Suriyavams'a 

Cham Tewi CamadevI 

At'itya Aditya 

Noh P'uttangkun Hn6 Buddhankura 

Maha Tewi MahadevI 

Jai Jett'a Jayajettha 

Sri Suda Chan S'rl SutS Candra 

Sri Sin S'rl Slip 3 

Suriyot'ai Suriyodaya 

Mahin Mahlndra 

T*ep Krasatri Deb Krasatrl (i.e. Devakshatrl) 

Sri Saowaraja S'rl Sauvaraja 

Sut'at Sudars'ana 

Saowap'ak Sauvabhlgya 

Ap'ai T'ot Abhayadosha 

Yot'a T'ip Yodhadiva 

Yot'a Tep Yodhadeva 

Ntren Narendra 

Ap 9 ai Abhaya 

Borommet Parames'vara 

% Scna P'itak Senavidaksha 

Tep P'ip'it Devavividha 

In P'itak Indravidaksha 

Anurak Anuraksha 


Names of Places 

Ayut'ia . Ayudhya 

Kamp'engp'et Kamb&n Bejr (i.e. Vajra) 

Nak'on Prat'om Nagara Prathama 

Sup'an Suvarna 

Int'aburi . Indapurl 

P'itsanulok Vishnuloka 

Suk'ot'ai Sukhodaya 

Sawank'alok Svargaloka 

Nak'on Jaisi Nagara Jaya S'rf 

Chantabun Candapura 

Nak'on Srit'ammarat Nagara S'rt Dhammaraja 

P'etchabun Bejra (i.e. Vajra) purna 

Names of certain Prominent Officials 

Maha Uparat Maha 1 Uparaja 

Chao P'ya Kalahom Cau Braya Kralahoma 

Chao P'ya Yomarat Cau Braya Yamaraja 

Chao P'p Surasih Cau Braya Suraslha 

Chao P'ya Chakri Cau Bray* Cakri 

Chao P'ya Wijayen Cau Bray Vijayendra 

P'ya Yut'it T'ira Bray! Yudhishthira 

P'ya Sunt'orn Songk'ram .... BrayS Sundara Sangrama 

P'p P'rak'lang Braya Brah Glan 

P'ya Kosa T'ibodi Braya Kos'adhipati 

P'ya Ram Dejo Braya Rima Tejo 

P'ya Senap'imuk Braya Senlbhimukha 

P'ya Sri Wbrawong Braya S'rfvaravaips'a 

P'ya Kamp'engram Braya Kamtefi R- 

P'ya Rajabangsan Braya Raja 1 

P'ya Sank'aburi Braya Sargapi 

P'ra Wisut Sunt'orn Brah Visa 

P'ra Pi'jai Surin Brah Vijaya 

P'ra Maha Montr! Brah Mah 


P'ra Rajawarin Brah R&javarlndra 

Luang Yokrabat Hluan Yokkrapatr 

Luang Sarasak Hluan Saras'akti 

Luang Prasoet Hluari Prasoeth 

K'un Jinarat Khun Jinaraja 

K'un P'iren Khun Virendra 

Names of some of the Kings of Cambodia 

Lampongsaraja Laihbafts Rajah 

Pasatr Pasatr 

Kadom Bong Katamp6h 

T'ammasok Dharmas'oka 

Sadet Sde 

Chandaraja Candar^ja 

Satt'a Sattha 

Sri Sup'anma S'rl Subarnama 


Acheen, 196 

Aguirre, Don Tello de, Spanish 

Ambassador, 149 
Ailao, 32 

Alaungpaya, King of Burma, 236 ; 
invades Siam, 240 ; death of, 242 
Albuquerque captures Malacca, 97 
Alexander VII, Pope, 196 
Alienma, Governor of Pegu, 54 
Anderson's English Intercourse with 

Siam, 28 

Angkor Tom, 46, 47, 76, 81 (fn.) 
Angkor Wat, 46, 47, 81 (fn.) 
Anurak Songk'ram, Prince, burns 

down part of Bangkok, 271 
Anurutha, King of Burma, 47, 50 
Ap'ai, Prince, 229 ; war with Maha 
Uparat, 231 ; escapes from 
Palace, 232 ; captured and exe- 
cuted, 232 

Ap'ai Tot, Prince, 212, 214 
Appeal, law of, 184 
Arakan, 150, 152, 153 
Asoka, King of Maghada, 43 
At'ityawong, King of Siam, 175 
Ayut'ia : Foundation of, 62, 63 ; 
fire at, 104 ; first siege by Bur- 
mese, 113; second siege, 118; 
third siege, 124 ; captured by 
Burmese, 124 ; sacked by Japan- 
ese, 161 ; attacked by rebels, 219 ; 
besieged by Alaungpaya, 241 ; 
last siege and destruction by 
Burmese, 247-250; retaken by 
Siamese, 252 ; rebellion at, 270 ; 
and passim 

Azevedo, Miranda, Portuguese Am- 
bassador, 98 


Ban Mtiang, King of Suk'ot'ai, 53 
Bangkok, 210, 245, 253 (fn,) 
Bangrachan village resists Burmese, 

Banteay Mas, Battle of, 227 

Bant'un Noi, Prince, 227. See 

Be*rythe, Bishop of, 195, 196, 200 

Bhureng Noung, King of Burma : 
becomes King, 116; captures 
Chiengmai, 117; invades Siam, 
118; returns to Burma, 119; 
attacks Chiengmai, 120 ; renews 
war with Siam, 122 ; captures 
Ayut'ia, 124; invades Wieng- 
chan, 128 ; dies, 130 

Bintale", King of Burma, 191 

Bo Mayu Nguan, Burmese Governor 
of Chiengmai, 260, 262, 263 

Bo Supla, Burmese General, 262, 

Boroma Trailokanat, King of Siam : 
made Governor of P'ltsanulok, 
8 1 ; becomes King, 83 ; reforms 
administration, 84 ; legislation, 
84, 85, 86 ; wars with Chiengmai, 
87-93 ; capture of Malacca, 88 ; 
moves capital to P'itsanulok, 88 ; 
becomes Buddhist pnest, 90; 
captures Tavoy, 94; dies, 94; 
character, 94 

Borommet, Prince, 232 

Boromokot, King of Siam : made 
Maha Uparat, 227; dispute 
about succession, 229 ; civil war 
with Prince Ap'ai, 231 ; becomes 
King, 232 ; executes opponents, 
232; family troubles, 233; 
friendly relations with Burma, 
234; treatment of ex-King of 
Pegu, 235 ; sends army to Cam- 
bodia, 236; receives Ceylonese 
envoys and sends religious 
mission to Ceylon, 237; has 
Uparat flogged to death, 237; 
dies, 238 ; character, 238 ; legis- 
lation, 238 

Boromoraja I, King of Siam: 
defeats Cambodians, 65 ; becomes 
King, 70; sends embassy to 
China, 70 ; war with Suk'ot'ai, 
71, 72 ; war with Chiengmai, 73 ; 
dies, 74 




Boromoraja II, King of Siam : 
becomes King, 80 ; war with Cam- 
bodia, 81 ; war with Chiengmai, 
82 ; dies, 83 

Boromoraja III, King of Siam, 95 

Boromoraja IV, King of Siam, zoo 

Boromoraja V. See EKAT'AT 

Boromoraja, King of Cambodia, 127 

Boromoraja T'irat Rama T'ibodi, 
King of Cambodia, 81 

Bourges, des, 197 

Bowring, Sir John : mission to 
Siam, 278 

Bradley, Dr., 24 

Bradley, Professor, 26 

Brahmanism, 44, 47 

Brito, P. de, 163, 164 

Buddhism. Introduction into China, 
38 ; into Siam, 43, 44, 45, 46, 

5<>* 5* 

Bun K'wang, rebellion of, 222 
Bunnak, Nai, rebellion of, 270 
Burma, affairs of, 102, 116, 130, 131, 
149, 150, 163, 193, 233, 234, 235, 
236, 243, 263, 276, 278; wars 
with Siam, 112, 113, 117, 118. 
123, 124, 132, 133, 134, 136, 139, 
140, 141, 145, 151, 156, 164, 193, 
240, 241, 244-249, 252, 255, 260, 
262, 264, 265, 266, 273 
Burnaby, Richard, 201, 202, 207. 


Buraey, Captain, mission to Siam, 

Calendar, Siamese, 127, 181 
Cambodia, 44, 46, 48, 50, 51, 54 ; 
war with King Rama T'ibodi I, 
65 ; war with King Ramesuen, 
76 ; war with King Boromoraja 
II, 8 1 ; wars with King Chak- 
rap'at, 115 ; wars with King 
Maha T'ammaraja, 127, 129, 130 ; 
treaty with Siam, 133 ; assists 
Siam against Chiengmai, 135 ; 
invasion of Siam, 137 ; wax 
with King Naresuen, 146, 147 ; 
Siamese set up King Srisup'anma, 
155 ; war with King Songt'am, 
1 68 ; resumes allegiance to Siam, 
187 ; war with Cochin -China, 
190; war with King T'ai Sra, 
227, 228 ; intervention of King 
Boromokot, 236 ; wars with King 
Taksin, 257, 261, 269 ; Siamese 
control established, 274 ; Siamese 
invasion, 275 ; becomes French 
Protectorate, 278 

Clbert (French envoy), 210, 211 

Ceylon, Siamese religious mission 
to, 237 

Chaban, P'ya, 262 ; kills Burmese 
followers, 263 ; becomes Prince 
of Chiengmai, 264 ; abandons 
Chiengmai, 266 

Chakrap'at, Maha, King of Siam : 
becomes monk, 108 ; conspires 
against K'un Worawongsa, 1 10 ; 
becomes King, 112; war with 
Burma, 112, 113; fortifies 
Ayut'ia, 114; war with Cam- 
bodia, 115 ; rebellion of Prince 
Sri Sin, 115; second war with 
Burma, 117 ; submits to Burmese 
terms, 118; sends daughter to 
Wiengchan, 119; becomes monk, 
122 ; third war with Burma, 123 ; 
dies, 123 ; character, 123 

Chakn, Chao P'ya, defeats Burmese 
in Peninsula, 144, 145 

Chakri, Chao P'ya. See RAMA I, 

Chakn, P'ya, taken as captive to 
Burma, 119 ; returns to Ayut'ia, 
124 ; treachery of, 124 ; executed, 
124 (fn.) 

Chakn, P'ya : expedition to Cam- 
bodia, 227 ; supports Prince 
A'pai, 231 ; is executed, 232 

Cham T'ewi, 95 

Chan, Nai, becomes Uparat, no ; 
is shot, 112 

Chandaraja, King of Cambodia, 115 

Chantabun, 53 ; captured by King 
Taksin, 252 

Charles II, 203, 206 

Chaumont, Chevalier de, Ambassa- 
dor to Siam, 204 ; treaty with 
Siam, 204 ; tnes to convert King 
Narai, 205 ; leaves Siam, 206 

Chiengjun, 89, 92 

Chiengkrai or Chiengkran, 102 

Chiengmai, foundation of, 56 ; in- 
vaded by Boromoraja I, 73 ; 
war with King Ramesuen, 75 ; 
war with Int'araja I, 78 ; war 
with Boromoraja II, 82 ; wars 
with King Trailok, 87-93 ; war 
with Rama T'ibodi II, 95, 96, 99 ; 
treaty with Boromoraja IV, 100 ; 
wars with King P'rajai, 103-106 ; 
Pinto on Chiengmai, 107 (note) ; 
taken by Burmese, 117; joins 
Burmese against Siam, 118; 
again occupied by Burmese, 120 ; 
again assists against Siam, 123; 
defeat by Prince Naresuen, 135 ; 



wax with Luang P'rabang, 151 ; 
becomes tributary to Siam, 151 ; 
disputes between rulers, 154 ; 
re-annexed to Burma, 165 ; 
Burmese relinquish claims, 166 ; 
re-annexed to Burma, 169 ; 
further trouble with Burma, 177 ; 
appeals to Siam, 191 ; captured 
by King Narai, 192 ; regains 
temporary independence, 229 ; 
assists King of Pegu, 235 ; again 
taken by Burmese, 243 ; rebels 
against Burmese, 244 ; Burmese 
misrule, 260 ; invasion and cap- 
ture of city by King Taksin, 262- 
263 ; Burmese attack, 266 ; city 
abandoned, 266 ; re -established, 

274 . 
Chiengrai, 78 
Chiengsen, 49, 55, 69, 78, 151, 154, 

265, 274 

Chin Chantu, P'ya, 129 
China, 39, 47, 48, 55, 70, 71, 79, 146, 


Chinese Rebellion, 232 
Chit, Prince, 245 

Chulalongkora, King. See RAMA V 
Chulamam, Wat, 90 
Chulasakarat Era, 127, 181 
Ciladitya, King of Kanyakubja, 45 
Clement IX, Pope, 197 
Clifford, Sir Hugh, 40, 46 
Coates, Captain John, 205, 207 
Coedes, Professor G., 8, 25 (fn.), 60 

Coelho, D. de, Portuguese Envoy, 


Colbert, 200 
Commerce in Siam, 163 
Crawfurd, Dr. J., mission to Siam, 


Dala, P'ya, Governor of Martaban, 
154, 163, 164 

Dala, P'ya, becomes King of Pegu, 
235 ; captured by Alaungpaya, 
236 ; executed, 264 

Damrong Rajanubhab, Prince, 8, 
25 (fn.), and passim 

Debt, law of, 185 

Debt Slavery, law of, 186 

Dhammathat, 127 

Dtia, Nai. See StU, KING P'RACHAO 

Dutch in Siam, 159, 162 ; war with 
English, 167 ; relations with 
King Prasat T'ong, 177, 179, 180, 
182, 183, 184 ; compound cap- 
tured by Burmese, 247 

East India Company: relations 
with Siam, 162, 190, 194, 199, 
201, 202, 205 ; war with Siam, 
206, 207, 208, 209, 219, 220 ; 
envoy sent to Siam, 276 

Ekat'at, King of Siam, 237; 
becomes King, 239 ; character, 
239 ; reforms, 239 ; war with 
Burma, 240 ; abdicates, 241 ; 
reassumes crown, 242 ; coun- 
tenances Burmese rebels, 243 ; 
fresh war with Burma, 243 ; 
incompetence during siege of 
Ayut'ia, 246 ; flees from Palace, 
249 ; death, 249 ; cremation of, 


Ekat'otsarot, King of Siam, 128 ; 
made Regent, 129 ; courage at 
siege of Ayut'ia, 136 ; made 
Maha Uparat, 139 ; slays Bur- 
mese Prince, 143 ; becomes King, 
158 ; system of taxation, 158 ; 
foreign relations, 159 ; Japanese 
body-guard, 159 ; execution of 
his son, 1 60 ; dies, 160 ; character, 
1 60 

Emerald Buddha, 93, 94, 268 
Extra-terntonahty in Siam, 195, 

Fa, King of Nanchao, 35 
Fang, Pnest-King of. See RUAN 
Fang, Muang, Foundation of, 50 
Fang Ken, King of Chiengmai, 78, 

Farges, des, in command of French 

troops in Siam, 210, 213, 217 
Fernandez, Portuguese Envoy, 97 
Firearms, earliest use in Siam, 77 

(and fn.), 78 

Flons, P. W., 160 (fn.), 162 
Footprint of Buddha, 170 

Golconda, 205, 206 
Gyaing, 102 


Hamilton, Alexr., 221 

Hang, Mfiang, 156 

Heliopolis, Bishop of, 195, 196, 197 

Heylyn's Gosmographie, 41 (fn.), 

160 (fn.) 

Hill, John, 209, 218 
Hioun Tsang (Chinese monk), 45 
Hippon,, Captain, 162 



Hodges, William, 209, 218 
Hongwou, Emperor of China, 71 
Huit'ongcha, Governor of Tavoyv 

Imohsun, King of Nanchao, 33, 34 
Inheritance, law of, 185 
Innocent XI, Pope, 210 
In P'itak, Prince, 267, 269 
Inscriptions on stone, 26, 60 
Int'araja, Prince, wounded in war 

with Chiengmai, 80 
Int'araja I, King of Siam : visits 

China, 71 ; becomes King, 77 ; 

war with Chiengmai, 78 ; embassy 

to China, 79 ; dies, 80 
Int'araja II, King of Siam. See 

Isara Sunt'on, Prince. See RAMA 


}ai, Chao Fa, King of Siam, 189 
ai Jett'a, King of Cambodia, 166, 

Jai Jett'a, King of Luang P'rabang : 
becomes King of Chiengmai, 103 ; 
leaves Chiengmai, 116 (fn.) ; es- 
tablishes capital at Wiengchan, 
119; invades P'ltsanulok, 121; 
later history of, 129 (fn.), 

James I, 162 

James II, 206, 208 

Japan : King Naresuen and China- 
Japanese war, 146 ; relations 
with Siam, 159, 169, 176 

Japanese in Siam, 159, 1 60, 1 6 1, 176 

Jayavarman II, King of Cambodia, 

Jett'a, King of Siam, 171, 172, 173 

Jett'a, Prince. See RAMA III, KING 

Jinakalatnalini, 26 

Jinarat, K'un. See WORAWONGSA 

Jordan, Captain, 167 

Kalahom, P'ya. See PRASAT T'ONG, 

Kalinga, conquest by King Asoka, 

Kamp'engp'et, 59, 71, 72, 14, 118, 

131. 133 

Kampengram, P'ya, 175 
K'amuks, 42 
K'as, 42 

Kaopien (Chinese General), 35 
Kaotsong, Emperor of China, 33 

Kawila, Prince of Chiengmai, 263, 
264 (fn.) 

Kedah, Sultan of, cedes Penang to 
East India Company, 273 ; in- 
vaded by Siamese, 276, 277 

Kelantan, 273, 275 

Kengtung, 41 (fn.), 54, 278 

Keo Fa, King of Siam : becomes 
King, 1 08 ; conspiracy of K'un 
Worawongsa, 109 ; is murdered, 

Keo Fa I, King of Cambodia, 155 

Keo Fa II, King of Cambodia, 190 

Keo Fa III, King of Cambodia, 227 

Khmer, 42 

Kodom Bong, King of Cambodia, 76 

Kolofeng, King of Nanchao, 33 

Kong Beng (Chinese General), 32 

K'orat, Rebellions at, 220, 222 

Kosa T'ibodi, P'ya, 220 

Kosa T'ibodi, P'ya, invades Cam- 
bodia, 227, 228 

Kosa T'ibodi K'un Lek, P'ya, 
invades Chiengmai, 192 

Kublai Khan, Emperor of China, 
35, 39 (fn.), 47. 52, 55 

K'un Bang Klang conquers Suk'- 
ot'ai, 51 

K'un Chom T'amma, Prince of 
P'ayao, 51 

K'un P'a Mtiang, T'ai Chief, 51 

K'uns, 85 

K'wan, Chao, murder of, 223 

Lambert, de la Motte. See BRYTHB, 

Lamp'ang, 99, 191, 192, 262, 263, 

Lannat'ai. See CHIENGMAI 

Lanneau, Mgr. See METALLOPOLIS, 

Lao, 31 (fn.) 

Lawa, 41 

Laws : Evidence, 66 ; Offences 
against Government, 67 ; Re- 
ceiving Plaints, 67 ; Abduction, 

67 ; Offences against the People, 

68 ; Robbers, 68 ; Miscellaneous 
matters, 68 ; Husband and Wife, 

69 ; Sakdi Na, 85 ; Palace Law, 
86. Trial by Ordeal, 101 ; 
Dhammathat, 127 ; Appeal, 184 ; 
Debt Slavery, 185 ; Inheritance, 
185 ; Debt, 186 ; Addition to 
Law of Offences against the 
Government, 186 ; Law of thirty- 
six clauses, 215 

Lei Lao (Tai Prince), 32 



Leslie, Alexr., 206 

Library, National, 25 

Loet'ai, King of Suk'ot'ai, 58, 59 

Loubere, la, Envoy to King Narai, 
210, 211 

Luangs, 85 

Luang P'rabang, 50, 53, 59, 103, 
104, 116 (fn.), "9, 129 (fn.), 148 
(fn.), 151, 161, 222, 243, 268, 279 

Lui Mao (Tai Prince), 32 

Ltrt'ai. See TAMMARAJA Lffx'Ai 


Macassars, Rebellion of, 207 
Madua, Dok. See UT'UMP'ON. 

Maha Montri, P'ra. See SURASIH, 

Maha Nohrata (Burmese General), 

240, 243, 248 
Mahajai Canal, 225 
Maha Sakarat Era, 127 
Maha Sihasura (Burmese General), 

265, 266 
Maha T'ammaraja. See TAMMARA- 


Maha T'ewi, Princess Regent of 
Chiengmai, 104, 105, 107 (fn.), 

Maha Uparat. See UPARAT 

Mahavamsa, 43 

Mahin, King of Siam : becomes 
Regent, 121 ; attacks P'itsanulok, 
122 ; abdicates office of Regent, 
122; becomes King, 123; captured 
by Burmese, 124 ; dies, 125 

Maldonado, Fray, 148 (fn.) 

Manglok, King of Burma, 242, 243 

Mangra, King of Burma, invades 
Chiengmai, 244 ; invades Siam, 
245 ; captures Ayut'ia, 249 ; 
again invades Chiengmai, 262 ; 
invades Siam, 264 ; dies, 266 

Mekut'i, Prince of Muang Nai, 
invades Chiengmai, 103 ; becomes 
Maharaja of ChiengL. di, 116 (fn.) ; 
taken to Burma, 120 

Mengrai, King of Chiengmai, 55,56, 
57. 90 

Mergui, 119, 207, 208, 209 

MetallopoUs, Bishop of, 195, 217, 

Min Chit Swa, Prince of Burma, 
J 3 2 134 ; invades Siam, 136 ; 
again invades Siam, 140 ; is 
killed by King Naresuen in single 
combat, 142 

Minderippa, King of Burma, 177 

Mingaing Nohrata. See MAHA 

Mingti, Emperor of China, 32 

Mintara, King of Pegu. See SAM- 
ING Ton 

Missionaries, Buddhist, 43, 44 

Missionaries, French, 195, 196, 197, 
198, 204, 205, 217 

Mogado, King of Pegu, 54 

Mongkon, Luang, 173, 174 

Morga, Antonio, 147 (fn.), 148 (fn.). 
155 (fn.) 

Muang Kesa, King of Chiengmai, 

Muang Mao, 36 

Musika, King of Nak'on Srit'am- 
marat, 254 ; captured by King 
Taksin, 258 ; treatment of, 258 


Nak'on In. See INT'ARAJA, KING 
Nak'on Prat'om, 43 (fn.), 45 
Nak'on Srit'ammarat, 53, 63 ; re- 
bellions at, 178, 220, 254, 258, 

Names of Kings of Siam. 62 (fn.) 
Nanchao, Kingdom of, 32-39 
Nanda Bhureng, King of Burma : 
becomes King, 130 ; quarrel with 
Prince of Ava, 131 ; invades 
Siam, 134, 139 ; becomes insane, 
148 ; taken to Taungu, 152 ; is 
poisoned, 154 

Narai, King of Siam : accession, 
190 ; re-establishes East India 
Company in Siam, 190 ; invades 
Chiengmai, 191 ; reforms army, 
192 ; captures Chiengmai, 192 ; 
invades Burma, 193 ; trouble 
with Dutch, 194 ; encourages 
French missionaries, 195, 196 ; 
receives French officers, 200 ; 
first embassy to France, 200 ; 
favours English, 201 ; second 
embassy to France, 203 ; receives 
French embassy, 204 ; Treaty 
with France, 204 ; attempts to 
convert to Catholicism, 205 ; 
third embassy to France, 206; 
declares war on East India Com- 
pany, 209 ; receives second 
French embassy, 211; new 
Treaty with France, 211 ; opposi- 
tion to his policy, 211 ; death, 
214 ; character, 215 
Narai, King of Cambodia, 261, 268 
Naren, Prince, resigns claim to 
throne, 229 ; attempt to murder, 



Naresuen, King of Siam : taken as 
hostage to Burma, 128 ; appoint- 
ed Maha Uparat, 128 ; takes part 
in war with Cambodia, 129 ; 
visit to Burma, 131 ; captures 
Muang Kum, 131 ; declares inde- 
pendence of Siam, 132 ; defeats 
Burmese near Sittaung River, 
133 ; attacks Prince of Chieng- 
mai, 135 ; quarrels with Prince 
of Cambodia, 135 ; present at 
siege of Ayut'ia, 136 ; invades 
Cambodia, 137 ; becomes King, 
139 ; defeats Burmese, 140 ; 
slays Burmese Prince, 142 ; re- 
organises Kingdom, 146 ; again 
invades Cambodia, 147 ; invades 
Burma, 149 ; receives Spanish 
embassy, 150 ; again invades 
Burma, 150 ; Treaty with Chieng- 
mai, 151 ; again invades Burma, 
151 ; siege of Taungu, 153 ; retreat 
from Burma, 153 ; sends army 
to Cambodia, 155 ; invades Shan 
States, 156 ; dies, 156 ; character, 

Nawrat'azaw. See THARAWADI 

Ngam Muang, Prince of P'ayao, 54, 

Nob Keo, King of Luang P'rabang, 
129 (fn.), 151 

Noh P'utt'angkun, King of Siam, 

Nohrata. See MAHA NOHRATA 

Koi, Pnnce, 212, 214 

O, Chao, rebellion of, 267 
Ong ng. King of Cambodia, 269 
Ong ng, Prince of Cambodia, 236 
Ong K'am, Prince of Chiengmai, 

229, 234, 240, 243 
Ong Wiet, Prince of Luang P'ra- 
bang, 222 
Ordeal, Trial by, xox, 259 

Fako, Siege of, 268 

Palat, P'ra. See MUSJKA, KING 

Pallu, Mgr. See HELIOPOLIS, 


P'angoa. See BOROMORAJA I 
Patani : naval battle between 
Dutch and English, 167 ; Queen 
of, 177 ; war with, 179 ; sub- 
mission of, 1 80 
Patani, Raja of, rebellion, 1x9 

Pauni, Captain, 245 

Pawara T'ammaraja, King of 

Burma, 192 

Pawaret, Prince, 60 (fn.) 
P'ayao, 54, 56, 58, 78 
Pegu, 43, 54, 102, 148, 149, I93 

234 2 35. 236. 262, 264 
P'etchaburi, 53, 64, 161 
P'etraja, King of Siam : origin, 
211 ; appointed Regent, 213; 
usurps Throne, 214 ; persecutes 
Catholics, 216, 217, 218 ; Treaty 
with Dutch, 218 ; negotiations 
with East India Company, 219 ; 
distrust of French, 221 ; trouble 
at K'orat and Lopburi, 222 ; ill- 
ness and death, 223 ; character, 

Phaulkon, Constantino : origin. 
198 ; official appointment, 199 ; 
relations with East India Com- 
pany, 199, 202, 203 ; letter 
from James II, 206 ; made a 
Count of France, 210 ; arrest 
and execution, 213 ; character, 

Phaulkon, Mme., 214 
Phnom Penh, 81, 261 
Pia, P'ra, 212, 213 
P'ijai Sunn, P'ra, nominated King 
of Siam, 223 ; resigns crown, 224 
Pilawko, King of Nanchao, 33 
P'imai, 256 
Pinto, F. M., 27, 108, no (fn.), 112 

(fn.), 113 (fn.) 
P'iren, K'un. See T'AMMARAJA, 


P'itsanuiok, 72, 8 1, 88, 90, 94. 95. 
10 1 ; taken by Burmese, 118; 
attacked by King Chakrap'at, 
122 ; civil war at, 245 ; King 
Ruang, 255 ; captured by Priest- 
King of Fang, 256; taken by 
Burmese, 266 

Ploughing Festival, 172 (fn.) 
Polo, Marco, 39 (note) 
Pong, Kingdom of, 36 
P'ongsawadan, 24, 25, 26, 27 
Portuguese : capture Malacca, 97 ; 
embassies to Siam, 98 ; body- 
guard of King P'rajai, 102 ; 
trouble with King Songt'am, 
1 68 ; assist King Narai, 190 
(fn.) ; missionaries, 159 ; first 
Consul in Bangkok, 276 
Potts, Samuel, 201, 202 
P'ra Nang Klao. See RAMA III 
P'ra Yot, King of Chiengmai, 96 
P'rabat, 170 



Prajadhipok, King of Siam, 280 
P'rajai, King of Siam: usurps 
throne, 101 ; improves naviga- 
tion of river, 101 ; Law of Trial 
by Ordeal, 101 ; Portuguese 
body-guard, 102 ; war with 
Burma, 102 ; invades Chiengmai, 
103 ; again invades Chiengmai, 
105 ; is defeated and retires, 106 ; 
dies, 1 06 ; character, 106 
P'rak'lang, 163 
P'rak'lang, P'ya, victories against 

Burmese, 145 
P'rak'lang, P'ya, supports Prince 

Ap'ai, 231 ; is executed, 232 
P'rapatom. See NAK'ON PATOM 
Prasat T'ong, King of Siam : early 
life, 170, 172, 173 ; executes 
King J'etta, 174 ; executes King 
At'ityawong, 175 ; usurps throne, 
175 ; trouble with Japanese, 176 ; 
relations with Dutch, 178 ; mas- 
sacres 178; rebellion of Patani, 
179 ; alters calendar, 181 ; 
trouble with Dutch, 182 ; expe- 
dition to Singora, 183 ; legisla- 
tion, 184-187 ; death, 187 ; 
character, 188 

P'rasingh (image of Buddha), 74 
Prasoet, Luang, history of, 25, and 

Prat'um, Nak, Prince of Cambodia, 

P'rohm, Prince, founds Muang 

Fang and Sawank'alok, 49, 50 
P'rohm, Prince of Chiengmai, 73, 74 
Promanujit Jmnorot, Prince, 24 
Pu'mint'araja. See TAI SRA, KING 
P'utta Loet La Nop'alai, King. See 

P'utta Yot Fa Chulalok, King. See 


Rajabangsan, P'ya, 221 
Rajawarin, P'ra. See RAMA I 
Ram, P'ya, adviser of King Mahin, 

121 ; attacks P'itsanulok, 121 ; 

delivered to King of Burma, 124 
Ram Dejo, P'ya, 151, 153 
Ram Dejo, P'ya, rebellion of, 221 
Ram Raja, King of Siam, 77 
Rama I, King of Siam, 273-275 
Rama II, King of Siam, 275-277 
Rama III, King of Siam, 277 
Rama IV, King of Siam, 278-279 
Rama V, King of Siam, 279 

Rama VI, King of Siam, 280 

Rama T'ibodi I, King of Siam: 
origin, 62 ; founds Ayut'ia, 62 ; 
war with Cambodia, 65 ; war 
with Suk'ot'ai, 65 ; legislation, 
66-69 ; death, 69 

Rama T'ibodi II, King of Siam : 
becomes King, 95 ; war with 
Chiengmai, 95 ; casts gigantic 
image, 96 ; second war with 
Chiengmai, 96 ; relations with 
Portuguese, 97, 98 ; third war 
with Chiengmai, 99 ; reorganises 
army, 100 ; dies, 100 

Rama T'ibodi, King of Cambodia, 
2 36, 257, 261, 268 

Ramesuen, King of Siam : made 
Governor of Lopburi, 64 ; de- 
feated by Cambodians, 65 ; be- 
comes King, 70 ; abdicates, 70 ; 
becomes King again, 75 ; war 
with Chiengmai, 75 ; war with 
Cambodia, 76 ; dies, 77 

Ramesuen, Prince, captured by 
Burmese, 113 ; attacks Prince 
Sri Sin, 116 ; urges resistance to 
Burmese, 117 ; taken as hostage 
to Burma, 119 ; dies, 120 

Ramk'amheng, King of Suk'ot'ai : 
his conquests, 53 ; sets up vassal 
King of Pegu, 54 ; embassy to 
China, 55 opens Sawank'alok 
potteries, 55 ; assists in founding 
Chiengmai, 56 ; trouble with 
Prince of P'ayao, 56 ; adminis- 
tration of justice, 57 ; invents 
Siamese alphabet, 57; dies, 58 

Rats, plague of, 257 

Ratsada, King of Siam, 100 

Rayong, 251 

Ruan, Priest-King of Fang, 254 ; 
captures P'itsanulok, 256 ; de- 
feated by King Taksin and flees, 


Ruang, P'ra, 52 
Ruang, King of P'itsanulok, 254, 


Sakais, 40, 41 

Sakdi Na, Law of, 85 

Saming T'oh, King of Pegu : be- 
comes King, 234 ; offers alliance 
to King Boromokot, 234; is 
deposed, 235 ; flees to Ayut'ia, 
235 ; later history, 236 

Samuel, Thomas, 165 

Sangitivamsa, 25 



Sank'atmri, P'ya, rebels against 
King Taksin, 270 ; attempts to 
usurp throne, 271 ; is executed, 

Sarasak. See SUA, PRACHAO 

Satt'a, King of Cambodia, 129 (fn.) ; 
makes treaty with Siam, 133 ; 
invades Siam, 137; war with 
King Naresuen, 147 ; flees from 
Cambodia, 147 ; legend concern- 
ing him, 147 (fn.) 

Satt'a, Prince of Cambodia, 236 

Sawangbun. See FANG 

Sawank'alok, 55, 59, 87, 88, 89, 
115, 118, 133, 245, 260 

Sayamwong sect, 237 

Sen Dao, conspiracy of, 103 ; is 
executed, 104 

Sen Muang Ma, King of Chiengmai, 

Sen Mtiang, Prince of Chiengmai : 
relations with King Narai, 191, 
192 ; captured, 193 

Shans, 31, 36 

Silveira, C. M., Portuguese Consul 
in Siam, 276 

Singora, rebellion of, 183, 200, 201 

Singu Mm, King of Burma, 266 

Sinulo, King of Nanchao, 32 

Si Hong Chong Te, Emperor of 
China, 115 (fn.) 

Slavery in Siam, 60, 185, 279 

Songt'am, King of Siam : accession, 
1 60 ; excesses of Japanese, 160 ; 
Luang P'rabang invasion, 161 ; 
British and Dutch factones, 162 ; 
foreign trade, 163 ; trouble with 
Burma, 163 ; war with Cam- 
bodia, 1 66, 1 68 ; English and 
Dutch at Patani, 167 ; relations 
with Japan, 169 ; discovery of 
Buddha's footprint, 170 ; death, 
170 ; character, 171 

Spanish embassy to Siam, 149 

Sraket, 135 

Sri Intaratitya, King of Suk'ot'ai, 

Sri Sai Narong, P'ya, 141 

Sri Saowap'ak, 160 (fn.) 

Sri Sawaraja, Prince, 123, 124 

Sri Sin, Prince, 108, in ; rebels 
against King Chakrap'at, 115, 

Sri Sin, Prince, 173 ; rebellion of, 

173, 174 

Sri Suda Chan, Princess, becomes 
Regent, 108 ; intrigue with 
K'un Jinarat, 109; murders 
young King, zio; makes K'un 

Worawongsa King, no; is 
executed, 1 1 1 

Sri Sup'anma, King of Cambodia, 
assists Siamese, 135 ; quarrels 
with Prince Naresuen, 135 ; flees 
from Boribun, 147 ; is captured 
by Siamese, 148 ; becomes King 
of Cambodia, 155 ; dies, 166 

Sri Sut'ammaraja, King of Siam, 

Sri Tammaraja, King of Cambodia, 

Sri Worawong, P'ya. See PRASAT 

Strangh, William, 202 

Sua, Prachao, King of Siam : 
assaults Phaulkon, 212 ; executes 
Princes, 214 ; trouble with rebels, 
219 ; becomes King, 224 ; his 
amusements and vices, 225 ; 
legend of his origin, 224 (fn.) ; 
plague and famine, 225, 226 ; 
death, 226 ; character, 226 

Suentsong, Emperor of China, 34 

Sugyi (Burmese General), 251 

Suk'ot'ai, Kingdom of, 26, 51, 52- 
61 ; wars with Ayut'ia, 65, 71, 
72, 74 ; under Ayut'ia, 75, 79, 87, 
96, 113 (fn.), 118 

Sup'an, 62, 64, 70, 77, 113, 141 

Surasih, Chao P'ya, 255, 261, 265, 
267, 269, 275 

Suryavarman, King of Cambodia, 

Suvarnabhumi or Suwanp'umi, 43, 
58, 62 

Svasti, Prince, 280 

Synam, 150, 163 

Tabeng Shwe T'I, King of Burma : 
conquers Prome and Pegu, 102 ; 
war with Siam, 102 ; second war 
with Siam, 113; is murdered, 

Tachard, Father, 214, 218, 221 

T'ado Maha T'ammaraja, King of 
Burma, 177 (fn.), 182 

Tai, origin of, 31-39 

Tai S'ra, King of Siam : accession, 
227 ; war with Cambodia, 227 ; 
attempts to alter succession, 229 ; 
death, 229 ; character, 229 

Taitsong, Emperor of China, 33 

Taksin, King of Siam : repulses 
Burmese, 244 ; flees from 
Ayut'ia, 248 ; takes Chantabun, 
252 ; captures Bangkok and 
Ayut'ia, 252; establishes new 



capital, 253 ; becomes King, 253 ; 
establishes control over whole 
Kingdom, 254-256 ; war with 
Cambodia, 257; captures Srit'- 
ammarat, 258 ; captures Sawang- 
buri, 259 ; reforms priesthood, 
259 ; invades Chiengmai, 260 ; 
war with Cambodia, 261 ; Bur- 
mese invasions, 262-266 ; wars 
on Eastern frontiers, 267, 268 ; 
invasion of Cambodia, 269 ; be- 
comes insane, 269 ; abdicates, 
271 ; is executed, 272 
Talalja, Regent of Cambodia, 269 
T'am T'ien, Rebellion of, 219 
T'ammaraja, Lut'ai, King of Suk'- 
ot'ai : accession, 59 ; becomes 
priest, 59 ; his reforms and noble 
character, 60 ; stone inscription, 

60 (fn.) ; public buildings, 60, 

6 1 ; death, 61 

Tammaraja II, Sai, King of 
Suk'ot'ai, 61 

T'ammaraja III, King of Suk'ot'ai, 
61, 79 

T'ammaraja IV, King of Suk'ot'ai, 

T'ammaraja, Maha, King of Siam : 
conspires against K'un Wora- 
wongsa, no, in ; becomes 
Governor of P'itsanulok, 112; 
captured by Burmese, 113 ; joins 
Burmese, 118; trouble with 
Prince Mahin, 121, 122 ; assists 
Burmese at siege of Ayut'ia, 
123 ; set up as vassal of Burma, 
126 ; strengthens defences of 
capital, 128 ; death, 137 ; charac- 
ter, 137 

T'ammaraja II, King of Siam. See 

T'ammaspk, King of Cambodia, 81 

T'anaburi, 245, 253 (fn.) 

Tarekpyemin, King of Burma, 54 

Tavoy, 53, 63, 94, 144, 145, 243, 

T'ep Krasatri, Princess, 119, 120 

T'ep P'ip'it, Prince : conspiracy of, 
239 ; is exiled, 239 \ returns to 
Siam, 244 ; resists Burmese, 247 ; 
sets himself up as King, 254 ; is 
captured and executed, 256 

T'ep Singh rebels against Burmese, 

Tetsong, Emperor of China, 33 

Tha Aung, Maung, Burmese 
Governor of Pegu, 233 

Thalun. See T'ADO MAHA T'AMMA- 

Tharawadi Min, Burmese Prince of 
Chiengmai : becomes Prince of 
Chiengmai, 130 ; assists Burma 
against Siam, 134; defeated by 
Siamese, 135 ; troubles with 
Luang P'rabang, 151 ; becomes 
vassal of King Naresuen, 151 ; 
disputes with Siamese Commis- 
sioner, 153 ; dies, 165 

Thomas, Father, 195, 196 

T'ien, Prince. See CHAKRAP'AT, 

" Tiger," King. See SUA, P'RACHAO 

T'llok, King of Chiengmai : usurps 
throne, 82 ; wars with Siam, 82- 
93 ; dies, 93 

T'ip'anet, P'ya Luang, Viceroy of 
Chiengmai, 177 

T'ong In, Nai, 252 

Traibhumikatha, 6b 

Transliteration of Siamese names, 

Tras Noi, Prince, 223 (and fn.) 

Tsui Lung, King of Nanchao, 34 

Turpin's History of S%am t 28, 190 
(fn.), 245 (fn.), 246 


Udall, Captain, 206, 207 

Upali, 237 

Upahwong sect, 237 

Uparat, Maha, 92, no, 139, 216, 
227, 275 

Ut'ai Raja, King of Cambodia, 273 

Ut'ong, 43 (fn.), 58, 62 

Ut'ong, P'ya. See RAMA T'IBODI I 

Ut'ump'on, King of Siam: acces- 
sion, 238 ; abdicates, 239 ; re- 
assumes crown, 241 ; again abdi- 
cates, 242 ; captured by Bur- 
mese, 249 ; author of book called 
Statement of K'un Luang Ha Wat, 
238 (fn.) 

Vajiravudh, King of Siam. See 

Van Vliet, J., 27, 173 (fn.), 176 

(fn.), 181, 182, 183 
Votaries of the Cross, 197 


Wanleh, Emperor of China, 146 
Wareru. 54, 55 
Was, 40, 41 

Weltden, Captain, 208, 209 
Westerwolt, 183 

White, Captain George, 198, 199 
White, Samuel 199* 208 



Wiengchan : made capital of King 

Jai Jctt'a, 119; captured by 

Burmese, 129 ; captured by King 

Taksin, 268 

Wijaiyen. See PHAULKON 
Wijit Narong, P'ra, 270 
Wills, Siamese Law on, 185 
Wimon T'am, Fia. See SRI SIN, 

Wisut Sunt'on, Envoy to Louis 

XIV, 206 
Worawongsa, K'un, conspires 

against King Keo Fa, 109; 

usurps throne, no ; is executed, 


Ya, Mating (Burmese General), 252 
Yale, Elihu, 219 
Yale, Thomas, 202 

Yamada, N. : Commander of Japa- 
nese body-guard, 159; receives 
title, 162 ; expedition to Nak'on 
Srit'ammarat, 175 ; poisoned, 

Yamada, O., 176 
Yan Prajien, rebellion of, 130 
Yokrabat, Luang. See RAMA I, 

Yomarat, P'ya, See SURASIN, 


Yonglo, Emperor of China, 79 
Yot Fa. See KEO FA. 
Yot'a T'ep, Princess, 212, 214, 223 
Yot'a Tip, Princess, 216, 223 
Ytsong, Emperor of China, 35 
Yunhli, Prince of China, 191 

Zaparo, Prince of, 140, 143 

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